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After  a  woodcut  by  Hans  Weiditz  in  H.  Ziegler's  German  translation  of 
Boccaccio's  De  casibus,  published  by  Steiner  in  Augsburg,  Feb.  27,  1545,  fol.  n. 
verso.  The  woodcut  is  one  of  261  completed  by  Weiditz  in  the  years  1519*20, 
and  first  published  in  the"  Trostspiegel,"  Steiner,  Augsburg,  1532.  (See  Dodgson, 
Catalogue  of  Early  German  and  Flemish  Woodcuts  m  the  British  Museum,  11. 
pp.  144,   157.)     Approximately  original  size,  157x100. 





PART    I. 

(Books  I.  and  IL) 



The  Carnegie  Institution  of  Washington 
Washington,  1923 


Publication  No.  262 


I         / 






BOOKS    I.   AND   11. 




Introductory  Note ix-xxvii 

The  Metre xxviii-xlvi 

Boccaccio's  and  Laurence's  Prefaces,  etc.  .  .  xlvii-lxv 

Book  I i-i99 

Book  II 200-328 


On  page  174,  line  6172,  patisynge  is  a  more  correct 

reading  than  paryschyng. 
On    page   426,    line    3514,    for    Lacedemonios,    read 

On   page   815,   line    1453,   for   impreuable   read   im- 



Part  I,  p.  xlix,  line  2  from  bottom,  for  hoifs  read  ho;;;i«es. 

,,       p.  3,  line  88,  Miss  Hammond  suggested  to  me  that  "  spare  "  means 
to  spar  up,  support,  in  other  words  that  it  is  not  related  to  OE 
sparian,  to  spare,  but  is  a  verb  formed  from  ME  sparre,  a  spar, 
„       p.  46,  hne  1659,  "  thenbracyng  of  Pheton."     This  is  not  the  English 
word  "  embracing,"  but,  as  Laurence  says,  "  lembrasement  de 
Pheton  qui  en  grec  signifie  feu  ou  challeur  "  (comp.  Part  IV,  144). 
Lat.  brdsa,  Fr.  braise,  glowing  charcoal;    braiser,  to  cook  on  hot 
charcoal;    enbyaser,  to  set  fire  to,  to  make  glow. 
Part  III,  p.  S09,  side-note  to  1223-24  should  read  :    "  Lead,  called  leprous 
gold  and  Tin  of  Jupiter,  is  duU  of  sound ;   mercur\-  is  false  and 
„         p.  1029,  hne  no,  insert  hast  after  in. 
Part  IV,  p.  92,  line  12  from  bottom  :   delete  (also  Wayland). 

,,  pp.  113,  114.  To  the  twelve  copies  of  P^mson's  1494  edition 
mentioned,  a  thirteenth  may  be  added ;  namely,  the  New- 
battle  Abbey  copy,  which  was  sold  by  the  American  Art 
Association  in  New  York  on  January-  28,  1932.  According  to 
the  catalogue  (Selections  from  the  Famous  Libraries  of  the  most 
hon.  the  Marquess  of  Lothian,  New  York,  1932),  p.  57  (facing 
facsimile  of  title-page),  the  volume  is  imperfect:  57  leaves 
(a  1-8,  b  2-3,  h  6-8,  i  1-3,  k  4-8,  1  1-2,  4-5,  n  4-6,  o  1-8,  p  1-3, 
q  1-2,  7-8,  r  2-8,  s  1-4,  C  I  and  D  4-5)  are  missing  and  have 
been  made  up  with  leaves  taken  from  the  edition  of  1527. 

On  p.  46  of  the  same  catalogue  it  is  stated  that  the  New- 
battle  Abbey  copy  of  the  Colard  Mansion  edition  of  Laurence's 
first  version  is  "  one  of  three  known  copies  .  .  .  the  two  others 
are  both  in  public  hbraries  and  both  are  imperfect."  Actually 
there  are  thirteen  or  fourteen  known  copies;  the  Newbattle 
Abbey  copy,  however,  is  according  to  Henri  Michel  the  only 
known  copv  in  the  third  state  (comp.  Fall  of  Princes,  Part  IV, 
„  p.  120.  For  a  discussion  of  Wayland '3  print  and  its  relation  to 
the  Mirror  for  Magistrates,  see  Professor  W.  T.  Trench,  A 
Mirror  for  Magistrates,  London,  1898,  and  Lily  B.  Campbell, 
The  Suppressed  Edition  of  A  Mirror  for  Magistrates  in  the 
Huntington  Library  Bulletin,  No.  6,  November  1934. 


As  a  result  of  an  abortive  attempt  to  collate  both  Harley  116  and  Lans- 
downe  699,  each  of  which  belongs  to  a  different  group  of  ^ISS.  (Harley  to 
the  Ellesmere  group  (A) ,  and  Lansdowne  to  the  B  group)  and  of  the  fact 
that  the  incomplete  variants  were  pieced  together,  in  part  with  incorrect 
attributions,  while  I  was  in  America  in  191S-19,  only  to  be  forgotten  and 
left  unrevised  on  my  return  to  England  in  191 9,  and  finally,  in  1923,  in- 
advertently printed  as  they  stood,  the  footnotes  to  the  Daunce  of  Machabree 
are  in  a  state  of  error  and  confusion  that  must  be  seen  to  be  believed. 
The  only  amends  I  can  make  is  :   i.  to  refer  the  reader  to  the  edition  of  the 


2  Additions  and  Corrections  to  the  Fall  of  Princes. 

Dance  of  Death  edited  by  the  late  Miss  Florence  Warren,  with  introduction 
and  notes  by  Miss  Beatrice  White  of  King's  College,  London,  where  he  will 
find  the  Ellesmere  and  Lansdowne  IMSS.  printed  complete,  together  with  a 
collation  of  all  the  known  MSS.,  and  2.  to  supply  the  following  revised 
collation  of  Harley  116  and  Lansdowne  699. 

I  was  not  struck  by  it  at  the  time,  but  1  now  have  a  strong  suspicion  that 
in  spite  of  their  manner,  and  to  a  certain  extent  their  vocabulary,  many  if 
not  all  of  the  additional  stanzas  in  the  B  group,  as  well  as  the  major  variants, 
are  not  by  Lydgate,  who  so  far  as  we  know  was  not  in  the  habit  of  revising 
his  work,  but  by  another  hand  (or  hands).  All  the  at  present  known  MSS. 
are  late  and  excessively  corrupt,  but  with  few  exceptions  the  additional 
stanzas,  substituted  lines  and  other  textual  alterations  in  the  B  group  are 
at  the  worst  so  inferior  and  at  the  best  so  indifferent  both  in  sentiment  and 
in  metre  as  compared  with  the  A  group,  that  I  find  it  difficult  to  believe 
that  Lydgate  had  anything  to  do  with  them.  Even  the  Emperesse,  the 
Mayr,  the  Chanoun  Reguler  and  the  Doctor  utriusque  Juris,  although  I 
should  hesitate  to  include  them  positively  as  later  additions,  have  a 
certain  emptiness  difficult  to  parallel  in  the  A  version  and  could  very  well 
be  imitations  of  Lydgate's  style.  On  the  other  hand,  the  Justice  and 
Monialis  are  metrically  impossible  as  they  stand,  the  Artifex  (also  metrically 
bad,  and  in  which  Death  appears  as  a  woman),  the  Sergeant  in  Law,  the 
substituted  seventh  line  of  the  Jurour,  the  Famulus,  and  Machabre  the 
Doctour,  seem  to  be  hardly  more  than  a  travesty  of  Lydgate.  It  is  also 
difficult  to  believe  that  the  Dean,  the  Physician,  the  Minstrel  (especially 
his  Kesponse)  and  the  two  final  stanzas  are  revisions.  A  careful  study  of 
the  relations  of  the  MSS.  to  one  another  as  well  as  of  the  poem  itself — its 
vocabulary,  rhyme  and  metre — would  be  of  great  interest. 

VARIANT    READINGS    IN   MS.    LANSDOWNE   699  =  L: 

The  first  five  stanzas  are  omitted.  46  of  Machabree]  which  that  ye  see. 
47  ylike]  om.  48  ne]  nor.  49  wight]  man.  51  toforne]  before — shall  go. 
56  00]  oon.  —  yforged]  Forgid.  57  most]  om.  59  hath]  have.  60  and 
states  temporall]  most  in  especiall.  65  for]  with  deth.  71  which  al]  sich. 
75  mot]  must.     77  leue  your]  lat.     79  is  worth]  vaileth.     81  that]  om. 

—  me]  om.  82  Whan  deth  me  sailith  that  doth  me  constreyn.  83  helpen] 
socour.  86  and]  and  my.  87  Wher  vpon  sore  I  me  compleyn.  go 
sheweth]  seemeth.  gi  yet  for-thy]  for  al  that.  92  folke  my]  estates  this. 
93  ye]  om.  95  I  fee;'e.  96  honour]  worship.  g7  certes  this]  trewly  it. 
g8   to   dreede.      loi    vnto]    to.      102    eke]    hecr.      103    which]    the   which. 

—  conceyued]  lemyd.  104  That  worldly]  How  that  al.  Two  stanzas,  the 
Imperatrix  and  her  response,  are  here  included  in  L  :  Lat  se  your  hand  /  my 
lady  dame  Empresse  :  Have  no  disdeyn  /  with  me  for  to  daunce  :  Ye  may  a 
side  /  leyn  al  your  richesse  :  Your  fresh  attyres  /  devises  of  plesauHce  : 
Your  soleyn  cheeris  /  your  strange  countenaunce  :  Your  clothis  of  gold  / 
most  vncouthly  wrouht  :  Hauyng  of  deth  /  ful  litcl  remembrance  :  But 
now  se  wcel  al  is  come  to  nouht  :  Rcsponsum  :  What  availeth  /  gold 
richesse  o[r]  perre  :  Or  what  availeth  /  hili  blood  or  lentylnesse :  Or  what 
availeth  /  freshnesse  or  beaute  :  Or  what  is  worth  /  hih  portc  o[r]  straunge- 
nesse  :  Deth  seith  chck  mat  /  to  al  sich  veyn  noblesse  :  All  worldly  power  / 
now  may  me  nat  availe  :  RauKSOun  kyndrede  /  frenship  nor  worthynesse  : 
Syn  deth  is  come  /  myn  hih  estat  tassaile.  105  O]  Right.  107  That  som 
tyme  had  so  gret  possessiot^n.  108  Rewmys  obeyng  /  vn  to  your  hih 
noblesse.  log  Ye  most  of  nature  /  to  this  daunce  yow  no  & 
P'ynally  your  crouwne  /  &  sceptre  leete.  in  Who]  For  who  so.  —  here] 
om.  113  nought]  nat.  —  toforn]  afforn.  115  Wher  bi  I  see  /  ful  cleerly 
in  substauMce.  116  or  force  of  high  linage]  force  or  hih  parage.  119  is] 
that  is.  —  1  holde  hym  most  sage]  hath  most  avauwtage.  121  Sir 
I'atriarch  /  ful  sad  &  huwble  of  cheere.  122  Ye  mote  with  othir  /  gon  on 
this  dauMce  with.  125  very]  trouth.  126  Be  possid  /  in  hast  as  I  rehers 
can.     127   Trusteth]   Trust.     129   gret]    ovi.     131    olde   ioyes]    ioies   old. 

Additions  and  Corrections  to  the  Fall  of  Princes.  3 

—  tristesse]  distresse.  132  treasours'  honour.  133  for'  to.  134  estates" 
estat.  —  wasten'  waste.  135  Who  so  montith  hihest  stondith  most  in 
drede.  136  Create"  Such  heuy.  —  hym  oft"  hem  often.  The  Cunstable 
is  replaced  bv  the  Princeps,  in  which  only  the  third  hne  is  similar  to  that 
in  the  A  group  :  Riht  mvhty  pr>-nce  /  be  rith  weell  certeyn  :  This  d&unce  to 
yow  /  is  Tnot  eschewable]  :  For  more  myht>-  '  than  euer  was  Carlema\-n  : 
6r  worthy  Arthour  /  of  prowes  ful  notable  :  With  al  his  knyhtes  of  the 
rouKde  table  :  What  did  ther  platis  ther  armour  or  ther  made  :  Ther 
strong  corage  '  ther  sheeldes  defensable  :  A  ge\-ns  deth  >vaile;  ,  whan  he 
hem  dide  assaile.  The  reponse  shows  fewer  variations.  145  whole]  myn. 
146  assail"  assegid.  147  And  br\-nge  folke]  RebeUis  to  br\-ng.  148  To 
seeke  worshipis  '  fame  &  "grete  r\-chesses].  149  See"  se  weel.  —  prowess'e>. 
150  which  is  a  great'  wher  of  I  have.  151  eke]  om.  —  swetnesses.  153 
voul  so.  154  So  frowardlv]  Your  look  your  face.  155  Yee  must  obey  to 
[my]  mortal  lawe.  156  contran.-]  co»stre\Tie.  157  For  day  bi  day  be 
right  wele  certe^-n.  15S  the]  o»i.  159  Preestes  &  deth  may  nat  be  holden 
a  geyn.  160  a  daye]  oon  our.  —  contith.  162  haue  so  gret]  stonde  in 
sich.  163  might"  power.  164  That  who-soj  But  who  that  it.  166  And 
se>Ti  A-dieu  /  pompe  and  p;-/de  also.  167  My  pexTited  paleys  /  tresour  & 
richesse.  169  Erl  or  Baron  '  which  that  thourh  regiouKS.  170  Have  sore 
laboured  /  for  worship  &  renoim.  172  This]  om.  173  Whylom]  som 
t\-me.  —  and]  &  your.  174  ^^'as  in  estat  /  &  wordly  wurship  to  glade. 
175  oft  it]  often  t\-me.  177  ofte  sith]  often  tyme.  17S  ewpr\-se — th},-ng. 
179  high  &  lowl  gret  estates.  iSo  ladies  &  women]  princes  tt  lordis.  181 
Xe]  Nor.  182  lordes  courte]  roial  courtes.  —  was]  weer.  185  But  deth 
vnwarly  /  al  power  makith  lame.  Under]  And  vndir.  The  next  two 
stanzas,  the  Princess  and  her  response,  are  omitted  in  L.  201  My  Lord] 
Com  ner.  —  with]  with  your.  202  soothlye  I]  soth  I  yow.  207  couwte. 
208  ouer]  on.  209  Of  these  tid^•nges  ,'  I  am  no  th\-ng  glaad.  210  \Much 
deth  to  me  ;  so  sodeynly  doth  br\-ng.  211  It  makith  my  face  &  cou«ten- 
au«ce  ful  saad.  213  now  to  my]  to  me  in.  215  And  needis  we  must  /  on 
to  our  departATig.  217  Commeth  forth  Syr  Squyer]  Knyht  or  sc\vyer — 
gises.  219  fresshe]  wele.  220  devises.  221  on  you  so]  upon  yow.  — 
high  emprise]  straunge  emprises.  224  stroke]  power.  225  Sith.  226  that] 
oni.  22S  whilom]  som  t>Tne.  229  Adieu  beaute  that  lastith  but  short  space. 
Here  L,  together  with  the  other  MSS.  of  the  B  group,  includes  the  following 
four  stanzas  on  the  "  Maior  "  and  the  '"  Canonicus  Regularis  "  :  Com  forth 
sir  Ma\T  ;  which  had  gou^mau^-'ce  :  Bi  poUicie  to  rewle  this  cite  :  Thouh 
your  power  /  were  notable  in  siebstaunce  :  To  flee  my  dau>!ce  ye  have  no 
liberte  :  Estate  is  noon  nor  wordly  dygn^-te  :  That  may  escape  '  out  of 
my  dau'.'geris  ;  To  f\'nde  rescew  /  exau>;!ple  ye  may  se  :  Xouther  bi 
richesse  /  nor  force  of  off  ceres.  Responsum  :  What  helpith  now  '  thestat 
in  which  I  stood  :  To  rewle  Cites  /  or  Comouws  to  goueme  :  Plente  of 
richesse  /  or  increce  of  good  :  Or  olde  ^^-^-nn^^lg  /  that  cometh  to  me  so 
yeme  :  Deth  al  defaceth  who  so  list  to  leme  :  Me  for  tareste  '  he  com\-th 
on  so  faste  :  Eche  man  ther  fore  shold  a  fore  disceme  :  Prudently  to 
th^-nk  \'pon  his  laste.  The  Canonicus  Regularis  :  Lat  see  your  hand  '  sir 
chanon  Reguler  :  Som  tvme  sworn  '  to  religioim  :  As  huw!ble  soget  & 
obedienceer  :  Chastly  to  live  ,'  lik  vour  professioifn  :  But  ther  may  be  no 
consolaciojm  :  Age\Ti  mv  sawes  '  sode\'n  &  cruell  :  Except  oonly  /  for 
short  conclusioim  :  Who  liveth  in  vertu  :  mot  nedis  dey  weel.  Respon- 
sum :  Whi  shulde  I  grutche  '  or  disobeye  :  The  th\Tig  which  '  of  verrey 
kyndly  riht  :  Was  I  orde\-ned  &  born  for  to  deye  :  As  in  this  world  is 
orde\Tied  euer\-  wiht :  Which  to  remembre  is  no  thyng  liht :  Pra\-ng  the 
lord  /  that  was  sprad  on  the  roode  :  To  medle  mercy  /  with  his  eternal 
myht  :  And  save  the  sowles  that  he  bouht  with  his  blood.  233  Commeth 
forth  Syr  Abbot]  Sir  Abbot  and  priour.  234  To  been  abassht  /  ye  have  a 
maner  riht.  236  noth\-ng"  nat.  237  Leven  your  lordship.  239  Who 
that]  Who  so — to  hyw;  I  have.  240  In  his  grave  sonnest  shal 
putrefie.  241  o]  no.  242  bnow]  o»i.  —  al]  al  maner.  244  This  doth 
to  me  '  somwhat  the  lesse  grevau;fce.  245  libertes.  246  availe.  24S 
in   d^-ing]   to   fom   deth.     250   mantyl.     252   bedes  sister]   beddes  softe. 

4  Additions  and  Corrections  to  the  Fall  of  Princes. 

255  for]  om.  256  no]  om.  257  this  for  me]  oni.  258  it  nought  declyne] 
nat  hy;«  eschewe.  259  If  it  so  be  ful  oft]  Vnto  this  of  riht.  260  That  heer 
with  othir  /  I  must  his  trace  sewe.  261  This  pilgrymage  /  to  every  man  is 
dewe.  262  An  ernest  mateer  /  a  mateer  of  no  iape.  263  Who  that  is 
alwey  redy  /  shal  nevir  rewe.  264  The  hour  abydyng  /  that  god  hath  for 
hym  shape.  Here  are  inserted  four  stanzas,  the  Index  and  the  Doctor 
vtriusque  juris  and  their  responses.  The  two  stanzas  on  the  Bayly  are 
omitted.  That  hand  of  youres  /  my  lord  lustice  :  That  have  rewlid  /  so 
long  the  lawe  :  Weel  may  men  holde  /  yow  war  &  wise  :  So  that  this  drauht  / 
be  weel  drawe  :  Escape  shal  ye  nat  /  wold  ye  neuer  so  fawe  :  Sich  dome  to 
have  /  as  ye  have  youen  in  soth  :  Wher  fore  men  seyn  /  of  an  olde  sawe  : 
Weel  is  hy;M  /  that  alwey  weel  doth.  Response  :  Alias  ne  were  /  that  myn 
entent :  Was  weele  dressid  /  thouh  I  othir  while  erryd  :  Now  shuld  I  vttrely  / 
be  shamyd  &  shent  :  For  many  causes  /  that  I  have  oftyn  d[e]ferrid  : 
Sauff  mercy  oonly  /  now  were  I  marrid  :  Blissid  ther  fore  /  is  enery  wiht  : 
As  bi  holy  scriptur  /  may  ben  averrid  :  That  in  all  tyme  /  doth  lawe  & 
kepith  riht.  The  Doctor  Vtriusque  juris  :  Com  forth  doctour  /  of  Canon 
cS;  Cyvile  :  In  bothe  these  lawis  /  of  long  cowtinuaunce  :  Your  tyme  hath 
spent  /  bewar  ye  did  no  gile  :  In  your  mateers  /  for  to  han  fortherauwce  : 
Now  must  ye  lerne  /  with  me  for  to  dauwce  :  All  your  lawe  /  may  yow  nat 
a  vaile  :  Gifl  me  your  hand  /  &  make  no  perturbauwce  :  Your  hour  is 
come  /  this  is  withonten  faile.  His  re.sponse  :  A  mercy  lesn  /  whow  man- 
kynde  is  freele  :  And  litel  tyme  /  in  this  worlde  abydyng  :  No  man  of  his 
liiffi  /  hath  charter  nor  seele  :  Ther  fore  it  may  /  be  likned  in  all  thyng  : 
Vnto  a  Flour  /  so  amorously  fioorsshyng  :  Which  with  a  Froste  /  bi  gynneth 
riht  sone  to  fade  :  Whan  cruell  deth  /  his  massage  list  to  bryng  :  Al 
liffly  thyng  /  he  bryngeth  in  the  s[h]ade.  281  Maister]  om.  —  lookest] 
loken.  287  aresteth]  doth  arrest.  289  and]  or.  290  nought]  om.  291  Ne 
in  the]  Nor  in.  —  seke]  serche  out.  292  nor]  or.  294  descriven.  296 
Who  liueth  aryght]  om.  The  two  stanzas  on  the  Burgess  are  omitted.  The 
Chanon  Seculer  is  headed  Decanus  in  L.  313  And  ye  Syr]  Sir  dean  or. 
315  In  gret  array  /  your  tresour  to  dispende.  316  With  all  your  richesse  / 
&  your  possessiouws.  317  For  kynde  hath  sett  /  hir  revoluciouws.  318 
Eche  man  som  day  /  to  dau«ce  on  dethis  brynk.  319  Ther  of  ye  may,  etc. 
320  For  deth  cometh  evir,  etc.  321  My  divers  cures  /  my  riche  pej-sonages. 
322  God  wot  ful  lite]  Alias  ful  litel  thei.  323  Deth  vpon  me  /  hath  geten 
his  avantages.  324  That]  om.  —  can  make  me  now  no  sporte.  325  gris] 
grey.  —  wyl]  must.  326  a  surples  and]  with  many  a  gret.  327  For 
which  trewly  /  as  clerkis  can  reporte.  328  deye.  Here  follow  two  stanzas, 
"  Monialis  "  and  response,  in  L  :  Thouh  ye  be  barbid  /  &  claad  in  clothis 
blaake  :  Chastly  receyued  /  the  mantil  &  the  ryng  :  Ye  may  nat  the 
cours  /  of  nature  for  sake  :  To  daunce  with  othir  /  now  at  my  comyng  : 
In  this  world  /  is  non  abidyng  :  Nouthir  of  maide  /  widewe  nor  wiff  : 
As  ye  may  seen  /  heer  cleerly  bi  wrytyng  :  That  a  geyns  deth  /  is  iounde 
no  preseruatiff.  The  Response  :  It  helpith  nat  /  to  stryve  a  geyn  natwre  : 
Namely  whan  deth  /  bi  gynneth  tassaile  :  Wher  fore  I  couwseil  /  euery 
creature  :  To  been  redy  /  a  geyn  this  fel  batayle  :  Vertu  is  sewrer  /  than 
othir  plate  or  maile  :  Also  no  thyng  /  may  helpe  at  sich  a  nede  :  Than  to 
provide  /  a  sur  acquytaile  :  With  the  hand  of  almesse  /  to  love  god  &. 
drede.  329  Ye]  Come.  —  ye  mot]  &.  330  That  passid  haue]  Which 
hast  passid.  —  ful]  om.  331  regard]  reward.  333  ye,  your]  thou,  thyn. 
334  Al  thyn  old  labour  /  wher  is  it  be  come  now.  336  coveitith  than  he 
that  hath.  338  many]  om.  339  Bi  strauwge  seeis  carried.  341  ay]  evir. 
342  now]  om.  —  me  doth]  doth  me.  344  litle]  he  lityl.  Two  stanzas, 
the  "  Artifex  "  and  his  response,  follow  here  in  L  :  Yeve  hidir  thyn  hand  / 
thou  Artificeer  :  For  ther  is  fouMcle  /  no  subtilite  :  Bi  witt  of  man  /  that 
fro  my  dauwgeer  :  To  save  \\ym  silff  /  can  have  no  liberte  :  My  strook  is 
sodeyn  /  fro  which  no  man  may  flee  :  Bi  coriouste  /  nor  cunnyng  of  fressh 
devise  :  Kynde  hath  ordeyned  /  it  will  non  othir  be  :  Eche  man  mote 
passe  /  whan  deth  settith  assise.  The  Response  :  Ther  is  no  craft  /  serchid 
out  nor  souht  :  Cast  nor  compassid  /  bi  old  nor  newe  entaile  :  I  se  ful  weel  / 
withynne  myw  owen  thouht  :    A  geyns  deth  /  [whiche  that  may]  availe  : 

Additions  and  Corrections  to  the  Fall  of  Princes.  5 

She  p^rshith  sheeldis  •'  she  pershith  plate  &  maile  :  A  ge\-ns  her  strok  -' 
cunnyng  nor  science  :  Whan  that  hir  Ust  mortally  to  assaile  :  Alas  alias 
ther  mav  be  no  deffence.  347  and  vour  selt  doth  your  chyne.  351  as^ 
outward'.  353  long  agon"  ago  ful  longe.  355  And;  om.  356  Dreadeth] 
Dredith  hvw.  —  kindly;  naturall.  35S  But  please  to  God;  Plese  it  lorde. 
361  Sir'  oin.  —  vour;  thi.  362  nor;  nor  no.  364  ye;  thou.  366  you;  the. 
367  sturdi  a.  36S  another  is  also;  deth  is  \-it  mor.  369  durste;  darst. 
370  Thafi  Which.  371  Which;  And.  — 'bothen;  \valk>-ng.  372  ful 
surquedou's  of  with  ful  dispitous.  373  arested;  arest.  374  can;  may. 
375  both'  o;«.  376  for"  om.  The  four  stanzas  on  the  Monke  and  the 
Usurer,  as  well  as  the  stanza,  "  The  Poore  Man  boroweth  of  the  Usurer," 
are  omitted  in  L.  The  stanzas  on  the  "  Physicien  "  are  quite  different  in 
L  :  Ye  phisiciens  /  for  monv  that  loken  so  fast  :  In  othir  mennys  watris 
what  thei  evle  :  Look  weel  to  your  silf  /  or  att  last  :  I  not  what  your 
medic\Ties  /  nor  crafte  may  av'aile  :  For  deth  com>-ng  ,  sode\-nly  doth 
assaile' :  As  weel  lechis  as  othir  that  shal  ye  knowe  :  Atte  last  lugement  / 
withouten  anv  faile  :  \\'han  al  men  shal  repe  as  thei  have  sowe^  The 
Response  ;  Alias  to  long  and  to  myche  in  phisik  ;  For  lucre  I  plye;d;  al 
mv  bis\-nes5e  :  Bothe  in  specIacio;.'n  /  ^v  in  practik  :  To  knowe  ^t  konne  al 
bo'dely"siknes=e  :  But  of  gostly  helthe  I  was  reklesse  :  Wher  fore  shal 
helpe'nother  herbe  nor  roote  :  Nor  no  medic\-ne  saurt  goddes  goodnesse  : 
For  a  ge\-ns  deth  ■  is  fN-naly  no  boote.  The  two  stanzas  on  the  Amerous 
Squ^-re  are  omitted  in  L.  451  ye  was;  o»'..  452  and;  o>n.  453  thei  went 
otn. '  455  daunger  long  in  loue;  deynous  dau>.'geer.  456  Vnto  this  dau>:ce 
ye  mote  your  fot>-ng  dresse.  '457  sparist.  The  Man  of  Law  is  called  the 
Sergeant  in  Lawe  in  L.  465  Syr  Aduocate;  Come  neer  sir  Sergeant.  466 
highe  iudge;  Iu;ge;  on  hihe.  467  quarei;  quarell  thouh.  46S  to  folke 
refuge;  folk  gret  remedie.  469  Ther  shal  your  sotil  wittis  be  deemyd 
rfoh-;.  470  YifiE  sleathe  /  &  covetise  be  nat  exiled.  471  Be  war  bi  t\-mes 
&  labour  for  mercy.  472  For  thei  that  trust  most  thew  silff  ar  sonnest 
bigiled.  474  I  can  alleggen  nor  make  no  diffence.  475  Xor  bi  sleihte 
nor  statute  me  with  drawe.  Tescape  a  way  -  from  this  dreedful  sentence. 
477  For  al  my  witt  ,  nor  gret  prudence.  4 78  No  th^mg  ;i;n  erthe  may  no 
man  preser\-e.  479  Agayn;  A  ge^ms.  4S0;  oni.  Here  L  omits  Master 
John  Rikil  Tregetour  and  the  Parson,  four  stanzas.  515  like  to;  aftir. 
519  But  lat  se  now  that  wythinne  so  short  a  space.  520  Before — acqu\-te. 
521  Som  t^Tne  I  was  callid,  etc.  524  whom;  om.  525  Hang — acqu\te. 
52S  a  man  is;  oon  wole  be.  The  two  stanzas  on  the  Minstrel  are  replaced 
by  two  others  so  different  that  they  must  be  given  entire  :  Gentil  menstral 
shewe  now  thi  witt  :  How  thou  canst  pleye  or  foote  ariht  this  dau)!ce  : 
I  dar  weel  sei  that  an  harder  fitt  :  Than  this  ;  fil  neuyr  to  thi  chauKce  : 
Look  ther  fore  what  may  best  avauwce  :  Thi  sowle  as  now  &  vse  that  I 
reede  :  Refuse  nyce  play  &  vevn  plesau^ce  :  Bettir  late  than  neuyr  to 
do  good  deede.  The  Response  :  Ey  benedicite  this  world  is  freele  :  Now 
glad  /  now  sor\-  what  shal  men  vse  :  Harpe  lute  phidil  pipe  farwell  : 
Sautr\-  Sithol  &  Shalmuse  :  Al  wordlv  m\Tthe  I  here  refuse  :  God 
grauwte  me  grace  '  of  sich  penaunce  :  As  may  myn  old  s>Tines  excuse  : 
For  alle  be  nat  mer\-  that  othir  whyle  dau'.ce.  The  two  following  stanza.s, 
the  Famulus  and  his  response,  are  included  here  in  L  :  Seruant  or  of?.cer  / 
in  th\Ti  office  :  Yifi  thou  hast  ben  as  god  wold  ct  riht  :  To  poore  A;  riche  / 
doon  ple\-n  lustice  :  Fled  extorciouw  with  al  thy  myht  :  Than  maist  thou  / 
in  this  dauwce  go  hht  :  Or  elles  ful  hevy-  '  shalt  thou  be  thanne  :  Whan  alle 
domys  shal  fynaly  be  diht  :  Go  we  hens  the  tvde  a  bidith  no  man.  The 
Response  :  Shal  I  so  sone  to  dethis  dauwce  :  That  wend  to  have  l\•^•ed 
yeeris  many  mo  :  And  sodeynly  forsake  al  my  plesauwce  :  Of  offices  / 
&  profites  ;that;  long  ther  to  :  Yit  oon  th\-ng  I  consel  or  I  go  :  In  offi.ce 
lat  no  man  doon  outrage  :  For  dreede  of  god  A:  pevn  also  :  Also  sen.-ice  _ 
is  noon  heritage.  546  fuF  ow.  547  Ye  must  eke;  Thou  must  here.  54?  if; 
thouh.  550  this;  the.  — from  thee' for.  551  The' This.  — can  so  folkes; 
causith  folk  to.  552  He;  For  he.  554  Albe  that;  Al  thouh.  556  to  haue 
gon  at  the  plowe;  &  go;n;  forth  at  ;the;  plouh.  55S  diked — atte  cart. 
559  telle  platly  howe;  ple\-nly  avow.     560  In  this  world  here  /  rest  is  ther 

6  Additions  and  Corrections  to  the  Fall  of  Princes. 

noon.  561  Come  forth  thou  frere  /  to  the,  etc.  562  To]  Vpon.  —  you] 
the.  563  your]  thi — hast  ful  often  tauht.  564  most]  oyn.  565  Albe]  al 
thouh.  —  thereto]  ther  of.  566  nor]  ne.  567  Death  dare  hym  rest]  I 
dar  arrest  hym.     570  to  abide]  for  tabide.     571  Strength]  Strengthe  nor. 

—  so]  om.  572  Of]  O.  579  beforne]  to  forn.  580  in  hast  by  fatall]  with 
hem  with  sotil.  518  ouer]  of.  —  upon  my]  on  this.  582  escape  in  soth] 
in  soth  skape.  584  Who]  Who  so.  585  a]  o.  586  so]  ful.  587  so]  ful. 
588  list  no  lenger  to]  of  his  strok  list.  589  come]  cam.  590  Of  me  no]  On 
me  more.  —  ye]  om.  592  As]  For  as.  —  man]  sheep.  The  stanzas  on 
the  Yong  Gierke  are  omitted  in  L.  610  there]  om.  At  the  laste  yet] 
Tyme  is  come  that.  612  thexpenence.  613  may  be]  is.  614  hermitage] 
heritage.  615  aduert  to]  advertise.  616  That  this  lift  heer  /  is  but  a 
pilgrymage.  617  To  liue]  Liff.  618  again]  a  geyns.  — •  respite  none  nor 
space]  no  respite  nor  [sp]ace.  620  by]  be.  621  hym]  my  lord.  622  and 
great  habundaunce]  such  as  I  have  assayed.  624  that  lacketh  sufEraunce] 
but  he  that  halt  hym  payed.  The  next  stanza,  Death  speaketh  agayn  to 
the  Hermite,  is  omitted  in  L.  The  last  three  stanzas  are  entitled  "  Con- 
clusio  "  in  L.  633  Ye]  Ye  ye.  —  loken — portrature]  scripture.  634  Be- 
holding] Conceyveth.  —  all]  that  al.  635  been]  be.  637  haueth]  have. 
638  Be  fore  your  mynde  /  a  boven  al  thyng.  640  fine  of  our]  ende  of  your. 
641  What  is  mannys  liff  /  but  a  countenauwce.  642  Or  [as]  a  puff  of 
wynde  /  that  is  transitorie.  643  As  may  be  weel  /  pcj'ceived  bi  this  dauwce. 
644  Ther  fore  ye  /  that  reden  this  storye.  645  Keepe  thentent  /  in  your 
memorye.  646  And  it  shal  steer  yow  /  in  to  gostly  liff.  647  Teschewe 
peyn  /  &  come  vnto  glorie.  648  And  be  your  socour  /  in  al  gostly  stryff. 
The  final  stanza  in  L  is  as  follows  :  Be  nat  a  fferd  /  this  scriptur  in  tyme  of 
pley  :  In  your  mynde  /  to  revolve  &  reede  :  For  trust  trewly  /  ye  shal 
nevir  the  sonner  deye  :  But  it  shal  cause  yow  /  synne  for  to  dreede  :  The 
which  refusid  /  ye  shal  have  gret  meede  :  Ther  fore  a  mong  /  have  mynde 
on  this  lettir  :  And  vse  vertu  /  praj'er  &  almesse  deede  :  And  than  I  dar 
sey  /  ye  shal  doon  the  bettir.  The  Lenuoye  of  the  Translatoure,  two  stanzas, 
is  omitted  in  L. 

Variant  readings  in  MS.  Harley  116  =  H  :  3  cuer  lasten]  laste  exxer. 
4  prouidence]  prudennce.  5  To  see  a  fore.  6  be]  dethe  {corrected  to  sleth). 
"]]  om.  8  high  &  loue.  9  not  hight  ne  law.  11  in]  in  thaire.  13  Her]  The. 
17  Consideryng.  18  it]  yit.  19  the  example.  20  Full]  But.  21  Ther  of 
franch  clerkes.  30  that]  whiche.  32  may  clerly  ther.  33  intentes.  36 
surplusages.  38  declare]  delyuere.  40  is  transposed  after  36.  The  next 
stanza,  "  The  Wordes  of  the  Translatour,"  is  included  in  the  Prologue  in  H. 
42  which]  which  pat.  The  foUoiuing  .stanza  [lines  49-56)  is  omitted.  57 
O  ye.  —  high]  hight.  59  to]  as.  —  hath]  hadde.  61  ye]  om.  64  of  all] 
om.  68  Seynt  Petris]  petres.  69  fro]  om.  70  Vpon  this]  On  his.  74 
Most]  om.  —  surmountyng]  and  hieste.  79  is  worth]  worthe  is.  83  gin] 
bote.  88  litle  auauntage]  so  lytell  vayntage.  90  it  sheweth]  me  semeth. 
97  this]  Jjat.  —  faile]  fable.  100  All  myn  array  to  leue  be  hend  me  [mis- 
placed after  loi).  loi  vnto]  to.  107  whylom  had]  hadd  somtyme.  109 
great]  om.  no  ye]  you.  113  toforn]  a  fore.  114  sauage]  sage  (sa[ua]ge). 
115  through]  for.  —  by]  my.  116  or]  om.  —  of]  or.  118  Great]  bothe 
grett.  119  hym]  he  is.  121  al]  witA  al.  122  quiteth]  quite.  —  nor]  for. 
137  my]  om.  —  arcst  you  and]  rest  and  you.  140  enforcede.  141  ne] 
nor.     —  this]  is.     142  Nor]  Ne.     143  most]  om.     146  assail]  haue  assayled. 

—  mighty]  om.  —  fortresse.  150  see]  see  well.  153  you]  so.  158  the] 
om.  160  a]  00.  163  to  escape.  —  no]  non.  —  se]  seen.  166  &]  my. 
168  Thyng]  For  thinge.  169  Lordes]  ladies.  172  nor]  ne.  173  Whylom] 
Som  tyme.  174  daunsen]  davne.  176  One]  that  00.  177  sith]  tymes. 
178  Empryse.  185  good]  and.  188  Nether]  Nojjcr.  —  nor]  ne.  190 
whylom  couth]  somtyme  cowde  holde  so.  195  this]  his.  196  nis]  is.  197 
bountie  nor  in  her]  beaute  ne  in.  198]  That  she  of  Kight  most  nedys  the 
trace  sew.  199  When]  For  to.  —  fairne.s]  fresshnes.  200]  Oure  Reueled 
age  saith  farwell  adiev.  201  with]  with  your.  203  For]  om.  208  ouer] 
om.  209  nother]  nothing.  214  Which  al  estates]  That  al  folkes.  217 
Commeth]    Come.     —   of]    in.     218   daunces]    davncc.     221    toke]    take. 

Additions  and  Corrections  to  the  Fall  of  Princes.  7 

223  Daunseth"  Da\Tice.  —  no"  not.  225  Sithe.  227  now"  ow.  22S 
whilom^  somtyme.  229  al"  oni.  233  Come.  234  Beeth  nought]  Be  not — 
haue.     235  rounde"  large.    239  Who  is  most  fatte.     241  manace]  tretyse. 

—  hauen  o  gret]  I  haue  noon.  243  cloystre.  244  is'  o»i.  246  they  vayle~ 
avaylle.  247  aske  I]  I  haske.  —  devoute]  hartly.  251  your  r3,-ng] 
passing.  252  bedes  sister]  beddys  softe.  —  mot  now  le\-n  a-syde]  must 
now  lay  on  syde.  254  borne]  and  borne.  256  man]  wyght.  259  If] 
Thogh.  263  with]  doth.  265  knowen]  know.  26S  Extorcioun.  271 
exclude.  274  To]  To  the.  276  Whilom]  Somt^ine.  277  by  labour  oft] 
for  favor  or.  27S  seth\-n — by]  ne.  279  wel]  o»i.  2S0  Ayen.  2S1  loken. 
285  Sith  that — genelogie.  291  difference]  defence.  292  domif^-ing] 
demonstr^-nge.  294  our]  all  our.  296  \Mio  liueth  an,-ght  mot]  But  who  so 
Ij-ueth  Ryght  most.  299  strong]  strange.  300  Toward]  To.  —  mot  you] 
muste  now.  302  came]  come.  30S  fordoth]  distroieth.  310  on]  of.  311 
it]  is.  —  the  worlde  wil  it]  and  he  will  hit.  319  no]  none.  320  ay]  euer. 
321  benefices — mony]  many  a.     322  hte]  h-tell.     323  of]  on.     324  That]  o»i. 

—  may]  may  be.  —  nought  disport]  not  support.  325  wyl]  om.  326 
a]  om.  32S  dye.  329  mot]  must.  330  many  a.  337  a]  ow.  339  downe] 
do.  340  more]  mo.  349  striue]  strve.  351  as]  om.  355  And]  Thoghe. 
35S  please]  pleas  it.  359  Fro]  From.  —  2nd  fro]  o»j.  360  ame  to-day] 
men  be  this  day — not.  362  nor]  ne  no.  402  eke]  om.  404  none]  no. 
406  loke]  se.  40S  seen]  se.  417  on]  in.  420  cunne]  kanne.  421  so  fer- 
forth  is  iRonne.  422  Ayenste.  423  haue]  hath.  426  eke]  om.  432 
Ayenste.  435  of  hert  eke  desirous  is  erased.  436  chaunge]  chanche.  43S 
into]  NTito.  439  al]  all  your.  442  A  yenste.  446  so  fresh  so  weF  so  well 
and  fresshe.  451  whilom]  somt\-me.  455  hath  lad]  haue  lede.  462  many 
a  man  haue  all»erede.     463  sentement]  sentence.     466  plete]  and  plete. 

—  highe]  om.  46S  done  to]  to  do.  470  auaile  may]  may  a  wale.  471 
scapeth]  schapith.  472  Be  fore — nought  teint]  not  ta}-ne.  474  nought' 
om.  —  against]  a  yene.  475  kepen  or]  kepe  ne.  476  al]  o»;.  478 
Nor  noth}-ng]  No  no  man.  479  make]  make  no.  4S0  quiteth]  quiethe. 
TJie  Trege'tour  and  the  Parson  follow  the  Man  of  Law  in  Tottel,  otherwise  the 
order  is  as  in  H.  4S1  whilom]  somtyme.  4S5  my]  this.  4S7  ne]  and.  4S9 
magike]  mau;.'kynde.  492  the  heauens]  heuen.  493  A  venste.  496 
\\TOught]  wronge,  with  "  at  longe  "  written  oier  it  in  a  later  hand  as  a  correc- 
tion. 497  now]  om.  499  ic'  and  yo»r.  500  of]  on.  502  to'  vnto.  504 
And]  As.  509  and]  om.  513  at]  is  at.  515  devise.  516  gaue]  haue. 
517  bothe]  o»i.  518  folkes.  521  \\'hilom]  Somt}-me.  523  Not.  525 
Hange.  527  say.  529  canst.  530  do.  531  anone]  soon.  ^^2  go. 
533  nef>er.  536  schewe.  539  doth]  dethe.  540  measures]  musures. 
543  not.  545  Thou]  O  thou.  547  Ye]  Thou — not.  548  if]  thoghe — not. 
550  from]  om.  551  The]  For  the.  —  so]  om.  552  lyve.  553  wished] 
wissede.  ^^^  haue]  had.  557  haue  labored.  558  Doluen  and  ditched] 
Delue  and  dyke.  559  platiye]  pla^-nly.  560  here  there.  563  taught'. 
564  that  o>/i.  565]  om.  567  h}-m  rest]  arest  h\-m.  —  mede]  man.  571 
nor  what  so]  ne  what  f>at.  572  Of]  om.  573  no'r]  ne.  577  Eiifante.  579 
to  fome.  58oledd.  593  Clarke — free]  so  free.  594  Fro]  For.  595  wend] 
om.  597  highest]  hie.  59S  ayenst.  599  at]  in.  604  Xe— ne.  611  muste'. 
613  J)er  ayen.  615  f)frfor — to]  om.  617  To  hue]  L}-fi.  618  a  venst — ne. 
619  houre]  stewyne.  624  suffraunce]  suffysance.  627  all  his]  om.  629 
deserue  God  quiteth]  serue  god  quite.'  630  To]  The.  633  folk'e"  folken — 
purturature.  636  not  elles.  637  haueth]  haue.  —  ave'  euer.  638 
whylom]  somtyme.  641  Mans  lyfe  is  nought  els]  Man  is  life  elles  (hfe 
inserted  above  the  line).  644  haue!  645  Remembre.  645  the]  om.  64S  in 
heuen  that  maketh.  649  been  there]  ther  ben.  652  errours.  655  hnie. 
657  my  lordes  A:  maisters]  m.aistres  and  folkes.  659  prav"  prav  vou. 
663  suppowle.     666  in]  the.     667  fro.     670  me'  o;«.     672  Her""Thever. 

',/  K 


It  was  probably  not  long  after  May  143 1  that  Lydgate 
began  his  "Fall  of  Princes,"  ^  at  the  request  of  Humphrey,  Duke 
of  Gloucester,  who  was  lieutenant  and  warden  of  England 
from  April  1430  to  early  January  1432  during  the  absence 
of  Henry  VI.  in  France.*  The  mention  of  Gloucester's  prowess 
against  heretics  (Prologue,  400-413)  no  doubt  refers,  as  Miss 
Hammond  has  suggested,'  to  the  suppression  of  the  Lollard 
risings  at  Oxford,  Salisbury  and  London  in  the  spring  of  143 1, 
and  perhaps  to  Gloucester's  presence  "at  the  beheading,  at 
Oxford,  of  a  small  band  of  men  led  by  the  bailiff  of  Abingdon," 
in  May  143 1.*  We  do  not  know  the  date  of  the  com- 
pletion of  the  work,  but  as  Lydgate  complains  of  his  age, 
"more  than  three  score  years,"  in  Book  VHI,  (he  was  sixty- 
five  in  1436),  and  was  engaged  on  the  "Life  of  Albon  and 

^  There  has  been  confusion  in  regard  to  the  title  of  the  book:  some  students 
write  "falls"  and  others  "fall";  one  or  two  have  on  occasion  used  both  forms. 
Tottel's  title-page  seems  to  have  been  responsible  for  the  plural,  as  Wayland 
printed  "tragedies"  in  his  title  and  "fall"  in  the  heading  of  the  table  of  con- 
tents, and  Pynson  "fall"  (falle)  in  the  titles  and  colophons  of  both  his  editions. 
Among  others  who  have  followed  Tottel  are  Thomas  Arnold,  Henry  Morley, 
Ten  Brink,  Koerting,  Schick  (who  prefers  "falles"),  A.  W.  Ward,  Courthope, 
Saintsbury,  and  Lee  (art.  Lydgate,  Diet.  Nat.  Biog.).  G.  Ellis,  Hazlitt's  Warton, 
Taine,  David  Laing,  Hortis,  MacCracken,  Miss  Hammond,  the  Diet.  Nat.  Biog. 
(art.  Humphrey  of  Gloucester),  and  practically  all  catalogues  of  MSS.,  includ- 
ing Ward,  have  "fall."  R.  Lane  Poole  prints  "falls"  on  p.  229  of  his  edition 
of  Bale,  Oxford,  1902,  and  "fall"  on  pp.  228  and  231;  E.  Gordon  DuflF,  "falls" 
in  Camb.  Hist.  Eng.  Lit.,  H.  321,  and  "fall"  elsewhere  in  his  bibliographical 
works.  Earlier  writers,  such  as  William  Baldwyn  (preface  to  "Mirror  of  Mag- 
istrates," ed.  1563),  and  Edward  Phillips  {Tbeatrum  Poetarum  Anglicanorunu, 
ed.  Brydges,  1800),  and  Thomas  Gray  have  "fall";  Watt  quotes  "falls" 
from  Tottel;  but  Tottel  himself  printed  "fall"  in  the  heading  of  his  table 
of  contents  and  in  the  colophon,  fol.  ccxviii  verso.  I  have  used  "fall"  because 
there  is  no  doubt  that  Lydgate  himself  called  his  book  "The  Fall  of  Princes." 
He  refers  directly  to  it  in  lines  VL  304  and  IX.  3622,  and  in  the  same  terms 
to  Boccaccio's  original,  L  51,  77,  270,  471,  HL  133,  VL  231,  and  to  Chaucer's 
"Monk's  Tale"  of  the  same  title,  L  249  and  IX.  3422.  He  also  used  "fall" 
as  a  subject  of  general  interest  (in  reference  to  the  opinions  of  Andalus  di 
Nigri),  III.  174.  "Fallys"  he  uses  once  as  a  subject  of  general  interest,  IX. 
3450,  and,  so  far  as  I  have  been  able  to  discover,  four  times  in  reference  to  the 
the  "fallis"  of  specific  princes. 

*  Prologue,  372  ff.     *  Anglia,  38.  133-136.     *  Jnglia,  loc.  cit. 

X  Introductory  Note 

Amphabel"  in  1439,  it  is  quite  possible  that,  as  Professor  Schick 
conjectures,  it  was  finished  in  1438  or  1439,^  perhaps  before  the 
end  of  1438;  and  there  was  at  least  a  partial  interruption 
in  1433,  while  Lydgate  was  engaged  in  writing  the  "Legend 
of  St.  Edmund  and  Fremund"  at  the  command  of  Abbot 
William  Curteys,  during  and  after  a  visit  of  Henry  VI.  to  St. 
Edmund's  Bury,  which  lasted  from  Christmas  1432  to  Easter 


The  "Fall  of  Princes"  consists  of  36,365  lines  of  decasyllabic 
verse  arranged  in  seven  and  eight  line  stanzas,'  rhyming  ahabbcc 
(rhyme  royal)  and  ahabbcbc,  and  is  a  paraphrase  of  Des  Cas  des 
Nobles  Hommes  et  Femmes,  Laurence  de  Premierfait's  second, 
amplified  version  in  French  prose  of  Giovanni  Boccaccio's 
De  Casibus  Virorum  Illustrium.*  The  original  Latin  prose 
work  was  written  by  Boccaccio  between  1355  and  1360  and 
dedicated  to  his  friend,  the  chevalier  Mainardo  dei  Caval- 
canti,  because  "no  emperor,  king,  prince  or  pope"  seemed  to 
him  worthy  of  his  regard;  and  although  a  revised  and  some- 
what augmented  edition  was  issued  at  a  later  date  (probably 
before  1374),  we  are  here  concerned  with  the  earlier  text, 
which  is  the  one  Laurence  used  in  making  his  translation.^ 
The  De  Casibus  might,  as  Henri  Cochin  suggests,^  be  called 
;  a  history  of  Fortune;  for  it  is  a  collection  gathered  throughout 
i  the  centuries   describing  the  most  memorable   and   crushing 

^  Temple  of  Glas,  p.  cvii. 

2  Legend  of  St.  Edmund  and  Fremund,  I.  187  fF.  Temple  of  Glas,  p.  cvi. 

*  There  are  but  few  eight-line  stanzas.  See  the  Envoys  on  Arsinoe,  Antio- 
chus,  the  Scipios,  Herod,  and  Charles  of  Anjou;  the  Chapitle  of  Fortune;  the 
Last  Envoy,  addressed  to  Humphrey,  and  the  Words  of  the  Translator  to  his 
Book  (IV.  3445,  V.  1590,  1846,  Vn.  246,  IX.  2017,  3239,  3541,  3589). 

*  We  sometimes  meet  with  the  title,  De  Casibus  Virorum  et  fceminarum 
Illustrium;  but  as  Paul  Durrieu  has  pointed  out  in  his  Le  Boccace  de  Munich, 
Munich,  1909,  p.  19,  the  word  virorum  was  used  in  the  general  sense  of 
"human  beings,"  or,  as  we  say,  "people."  (Parmi  les  ecrits  latins  de  Boccace, 
celui  qui  eut  de  beaucoup  la  plus  grande  notoriete  fut  le  traite  intitule  De 
Casibus  virorum  illustrium,  le  mot  casibus  repondant  a  la  vieille  expression 
fran^aise  cas,  signifiant  vicissitude  de  fortune,  et  le  mot  virorum  etant  entendu 
dans  le  sens  general  de  genre  humain,  ce  qui  fait  que  le  titre  De  Casibus  viro- 
rum illustrium  est  devenu,  dans  le  fran^ais  du  XV*  siecle,  Des  Cas  des  nobles 
hommes  et  femmes.) 

'  See  Henri  Hauvette,  Boccace,  6tude  Biographique  et  Litteraire,  Paris, 
1914,  pp.  391  and  393,  note.  Also  the  chapter  on  Les  CEuvres  Latines,  pp. 
389,  396  and  347  ff. 

'  Henri  Cochin,  Boccace,  £.tudes  Italiennes,  Paris,  1889,  p.  122. 

Introductory  Note  xi 

blows  dealt  by  fate  to  the  illustrious  personages  of  mythology 
and  history,  and  written,  as  the  author  himself  said,^  with  the 
object  of  teaching  princes  the  virtue  of  wisdom  and  modera- 
tion by  holding  up  to  them  the  example  of  misfortunes  pro- 
voked by  egotism,  pride  and  inordinate  ambition.'  The  form 
is  the  familiar  one  of  a  vision  or  dream,  the  author  represent- 
ing himself  at  work  in  his  study,  while  the  "famous  unfortu- 
nates" pass  before  him  in  succession,  and  each  tells  the  story 
of  his  fall.  Some  are  presented  to  Boccaccio  by  the  goddess 
Fortuna  as  those  to  whom  she  had  at  one  time  shown  her 
favour  and  afterwards  thrown  from  her  wheel;  others  enter 
unannounced  and  clamour  to  be  allowed  to  speak;  and  there 
are  several  who  take  part  in  excited  conversations  with  one 
another  or  with  the  author,  as  in  the  chapters  on  Atreus 
and  Thyestes;  Messalina,  Tiberius  and  Caligula;  and  Brun- 
hilde.  Occasionally,  Boccaccio  himself  contributes  a  tale  by 
way  of  illustration,  and  several  stories  are  told  by  Fortuna;' 
and  the  work  is  filled  with  ironical  remarks  on  the  vicious 
stupidity  of  those  to  whom  fate  has  given  power  over  the  lives 
of  their  fellow  men.  The  Latin  book  is  more  dramatic  and  of 
greater  literary  value  than  either  Laurence's  or  Lydgate's 
translation.  The  dedicatory-  epistle  to  Mainardo  dei  Caval- 
canti,  written  in  1363,*  and  Boccaccio's  preface  were  translated 
by  Laurence,  but  the  former  appears  as  such  only  in  his  first 
and  more  literal  version;  and  although  he  worked  parts  of  it 
into  the  preface  of  his  second  version,  very  little  was  pre- 
served by  Lydgate,  who  also  omitted  the  long  dedication  by 
Laurence  to  the  Duke  of  Berry. 

At  the  present  day  Boccaccio  is  known  best  as  the  earliest 
and  greatest  master  of  Italian  prose,  as  the  author  of  charming 
lyrical  poems  and  interludes,  and  of  the  first  heroic  epic  in 
the  language;  he  is  hardly  known  at  all  as  the  moralist,  historian 
and  man  of  science  of  the  prose  Latin  works,  De  Genealogia 
Deorum,  De  Claris  Mulieribus,  De  Montibus,  and  De  Casibus 
Firorum  Illustrium,  all  of  which  were  compiled  or  written 
during  the  latter  part  of  his  life.     The  history  and  natural 

*  See  Boccaccio's  preface,  " Exquirenti  mei"  etc.,  p.  xlvii.  below. 
'  Comp.  Boccaccio's  preface  and  Hauvette,  loc.  cit.,  p.  347. 

*  See  the  beginning  (first  few  hundred  lines)  of  Book  VI. 

*  See  Hauvette,  p.  392. 

xii  Introductory  Note 

science  of  the  fourteenth  century  have  Httle  interest  for  us 
now  except  as  antiquarians;  the  moral  and  poHtical  doctrines 
of  De  Casihus  are  commonplace  and  could  hardly  have  been 
considered  very  remarkable  even  at  the  time  they  were  written, 
and  its  art,  in  spite  of  its  dramatic  form  and  the  power  of  its 
bitter  satire,  is  not  distinguished  enough  to  hold  it  above  the 
level  of  the  books  that  perish  for  all  but  a  few  curious  stu- 
dents and  collectors.  But  from  the  fourteenth  to  the  end  of 
the  sixteenth  century  the  case  was  very  different.  Although  the 
Decameron  had  been  translated  into  French  by  Laurence  in 
141 1,  there  was  no  public  then  capable  either  of  comprehend- 
ing its  historical  importance  or  appreciating  its  style;  and  the 
indelicacy  of  a  few  of  its  stories,  no  greater  than  that  of  many 
other  popular  tales  of  the  time,  was  certainly  not  such  as  to  cause 
any  great  commotion  except  in  ecclesiastical  circles,  outraged 
far  less  by  indecency  than  by  the  satire  of  the  priesthood.  So 
it  was  inevitable  that,  as  far  as  his  contemporaries  and  imme- 
diate successors  were  concerned,  Boccaccio's  fame  as  a  writer 
should  rest  chiefly  on  his  Latin  works;  and  it  was  as  a  moral- 
ist and  man  of  profound  learning  that  he  was  best  known  and 
respected.  To  judge  by  the  number  of  existing  manuscripts, 
the  De  Casibus  had  an  exceedingly  large  circulation.  It  was 
the  sort  of  book  that  would  especially  appeal  to  the  great 
personages  of  the  time:  it  told  about  people  just  like  them- 
selves; and  although  very  naturally  it  taught  them  nothing  — 
as  if  the  impulses  and  desires  of  men  were  controlled  by 
either  precept  or  example — it  at  any  rate  interested  them. 
They  were  all  exposed  to  the  vicissitudes  of  fortune,  and, 
the  world  being  then  very  much  as  it  is  to-day,  many  of  them 
became  victims  of  the  same  disasters  that  had  afflicted  and 
destroyed  their  predecessors;^    and  it  was  no  doubt  a  source 

1  En  plus  d'une  occasion,  dans  les  deux  cents  annees  qui  ont  suivi  la  compo- 
sition de  cet  ouvrage,  le  De  Casibus  a  pu  servir  de  reconfort  moral  a  des  mal- 
heureux.  Pour  ne  citer  qu'un  exemple,  nous  savons  qu'au  XV"^  siecle  le  due 
Charles  d'Orleans,  retenu  prisonnier  en  Anglcterre,  se  fit  envoyer  pour  charmer 
les  loisirs  de  sa  captivite  un  exemplaire  du  traite  de  Boccace.  —  Durrieu, 
loc.  cit.,  pp.  20,  21,  who  refers  to  Leopold  Delisle,  Le  Cabinet  des  manuscrits  de 
la  Bibliotheque  nationale,  Paris,  1 868-1881,  I.  p.  106.  Even  in  the  middle  of 
the  sixteenth  century,  Hieronymus  Ziegler,  editor  and  translator  of  the  De 
Casibus,  an  able  man  and  no  pedant,  wrote,  "  Ich  habe  nie  etwas  gelesen  was 
mehr  Vergnugen  und  Belehrung  gewahrt." — Marcus  Landau,  Boccaccio,  Stutt- 
gart, 1877,  p.  218. 

Introductory  Note  xiii 

of  consolation  to  some  of  them,  when  their  hour  of  trial  came, 
to  read  about  the  tribulations  of  others.  And  as  many  of 
these  great  people  were  unable  to  read  Latin,  it  is  quite  evident 
that  Laurence  was  certain  of  a  large  and  influential  public 
for  his  translation. 

Laurence,^  who  took  his  name  from  the  village  of  Premier- 
fait  near  Arcis-sur-Aube,  was  clerk  of  the  diocese  of  Troyes, 
a  competent  writer  in  French  and  a  Latin  scholar,  and  in  the 
eyes  of  his  contemporaries  a  poet  and  orator  of  distinction. 
He  seems  to  have  made  his  living  chiefly  by  translating,  and 
his  first  and  more  literal  version  of  De  Casibus  was  finished 
on  November  13,  1400,  and  dedicated  to  Duke  Louis  of  Bour- 
bon. At  about  this  time  he  became  a  confidential  advisor 
and  clerk  to  Jean  Chanteprime,  conseiller  du  roi  de  France. 
In  1405  he  translated  Cicero's  De  Senectiite  into  French  for 
Duke  Louis  of  Bourbon.  Between  1405  and  1409  he  translated 
De  Amicitia  and  completed  his  second  version  of  De  Casibus  * 
for  the  Duke  of  Berry  while  living  in  the  house  of  Bureau  de 
Dammartin,  tresorier  de  France.  During  the  years  1411-14 
he  translated  the  Decameron,  and  in  141 7  Aristotle's  Eco- 
nomics; a  version  of  Martin  Dumiense's  De  quatuor  virtutibus 
is  also  attributed  to  him.  He  died  in  Paris  in  1418,  "annee 
terrible  de  massacres,  d'epidemie  et  de  misere,"  and  was 
buried  in  the  Cimetiere  des  Innocents.' 

Of  Laurence's  first  version  there  are  but  few  manuscripts  ^ 
and  only  two  printed  editions,  that  of  Colard  Mansion,  Bruges, 
1476,  and  the  Lyons  edition  of  1483.  Considering  the  atti- 
tude of  translators  of  his  time  to  their  originals,  it  is  a 
comparatively  complete    and    straightforward    rendering,   and 

^  For  the  above  details  in  regard  to  Laurence  I  am  indebted  to  A.  Hortis, 
Studi  sulle  opere  latine  del  Boccaccio,  Trieste,  1879,  p.  618  fF.;  Durrieu,  loc. 
cit.,  p.  19  fF.  See  also  Hauvette,  De  Laureniio  de  Primofato  (thesis),  Paris, 
1903,  and  Recbercbes  sur  le  " De  Casibus  virorum  illustrium"  de  Boccace,  Paris, 
1901  {Extrait  du  volume  " Entre  camarades"  publie  par  la  SociHe  des  anciens 
ileves  de  la  Faculte  des  Lettres  de  l' Universiu  de  Paris). 

*  Cy  fine  le  liure  de  Jehan  Boccace  des  cas  des  nobles  hommes  et  femmes 
translate  de  latin  en  Francois  par  moy  laurens  de  premierFait  clerc  du  diocese 
de  troies  et  Fut  complie  ceste  translacion  le  XV'  jour  d'auril  mil  IIII  et  IX. 
Cest  assauoir  le  lundi  apres  pasques.  —  Various  MSS.  Some  add  the  word 
"closes"  to  "pasques." 

'  Durrieu,   p.   21. 

*  In  the  British  Museum,  Additional  11,696  and  Harley  621. 

xiv  Introductory  Note 

includes  Boccaccio's  dedicatory  epistle  to  Mainardo  dei  Caval- 
canti.  In  his  second  version  Laurence  enlarged  his  earlier 
work,  extending  it  to  more  than  double  its  original  length  by 
the  addition  of  geographical  and  historical  notes  and  explana- 
tions, interpolating  all  manner  of  odd  pieces  of  information 
from  the  books  he  had  read  —  Justin,  Florus,  Livy,  Vincent, 
Valerius  Maximus  and  others  —  with  the  result  that  much  of 
the  dramatic  form  and  power  of  the  original  is  lost.  Although 
he  omitted  Boccaccio's  epistle  to  Mainardo,  he  nevertheless 
used  parts  of  it  as  material  for  his  own  preface,  and  added  a 
long  dedication  to  the  Duke  of  Berry,  in  which  he  discussed 
the  question  of  man's  relation  to  fortune,  the  abuses  of  the 
church  and  priesthood,  the  conduct  of  the  nobility  and  the 
condition  of  the  agricultural  labourers.^ 

As  Durrieu  points  out,  the  work  thus  transformed  became 
for  the  French  reader  "not  only  a  subject  for  moral  discussions 
and  a  suitable  guidance  for  the  restoration  of  courage  in 
adversity,  but  a  collection  of  facts  and  anecdotes,  of  curious 
information  about  countries  and  men,  and  almost  a  picture 
in  perspective  of  universal  history  from  Adam  and  Eve  up  to 
the  middle  of  the  fourteenth  century."  It  was  considered 
to  be  an  original  work  rather  than  a  translation,  and  its  success 
was  great.  Copied  and  recopied  many  times  during  the  entire 
fifteenth  century,  it  was  printed  in  Paris  by  Jean  du  Pre  in 
1483,  in  the  next  year  for  Antoine  Verard,  again  for  Verard 
(n.  d.,  but  after  1503),  by  Michel  le  Noir  in  1515,  by  Nicolas 
Couteau  in  1538,  and  finally  superseded  by  a  new  version 
by  Claude  Witart,  which  appeared  in  1578.  Magnificent 
manuscript  copies^  were  in  the  possession  of  the  last  dukes 
of  the  house  of  Burgundy,  from  Jean  sans  Peur  to  Charles  le 
Temeraire,  of  Jacques  d'Armagnac,  duke  of  Nemours,  le 
Grand  batard  de  Bourgogne,  Queen  Charlotte  of  Savoy,  wife  of 

^  See   p.    liv.  fF. 

2  See  Paulin  Paris,  Les  Manuscrits  Francois  de  la  Bibliothique  du  Roi,  Paris, 
1836-38;  Leopold  Delisle,  Le  Cabinet  des  Manuscrits  de  la  Bibliotheque  Im- 
periale  (Nationale),  Paris,  1868-81;  Hortis,  loc.  cit.,  p.  933-938.  The  manu- 
scripts of  Laurence's  second  version  in  the  British  Museum  are  Royal  18. 
D.  VIL,  Royal  20.  C.  IV.,  Royal  14.  E.  V.,  Add.  18,750  and  Add.  35.321,  of 
which  the  last  mentioned  has  been  described  by  Sir  Edward  Maunde  Thomp- 
son in  the  Burlington  Magazine,  Vol.  VIL  (1905),  pp.  198-210,  with  repro- 
ductions of  six  half-page  miniatures. 

Introductory  Note  xv 

Louis  XL,  Louis'  sister,  Jeanne  de  France,  duchess  of  Bourbon, 
his  illegitimate  daughter,  Jeanne,  countess  of  Rousillon,  Jean 
d'  Orleans,  count  of  Angouleme  (grandfather  of  Francis  L), 
Louise  of  Savoy  (mother  of  Francis  L),  Catherine  d'  Alen^on, 
Henry  VIL  of  England,  and  many  others.^  A  beautifully 
illuminated  codex  was  presented  to  the  Duke  of  Berry  towards 
the  end  of  1410  by  Martin  de  Gouges,  bishop  of  Chartres,* 
and  there  is  a  manuscript  in  the  National  Library,  Munich  (de- 
scribed by  Durrieu  in  the  work  already  referred  to),  with  many 
large  miniatures  attributed  to  Jean  Foucquet  (141 5-1485),  the 
most  distinguished  French  painter  of  the  fifteenth  century. 

The  Duke  of  Berry,'  for  whom  Laurence  translated  the 
De  Casihus  and  Decameron,  was  bom  November  30,  1340, 
third  son  of  king  John  IL  In  1356  he  was  created  Count 
of  Poitiers  and  made  king's  lieutenant  in  southern  France, 
and  later  on  received  the  province  of  Languedoc.  He  sup- 
pressed a  revolt  of  the  peasants  with  barbaric  severity,  col- 
lected a  fine  of  £15,000  from  the  states  of  the  province,  fought 
against  the  Flemings  at  Rosebeke  in  1382,  was  active  in  sup- 
pressing the  Parisian  revolts,  and  by  his  bungling  and  pro- 
crastination is  said  to  have  caused  the  failure  of  a  naval  expe- 
dition planned  against  England  in  1386.  In  1389  Charles  VI. 
went  to  Languedoc  to  investigate  his  uncle's  government, 
with  the  result  that  the  duke  was  disgraced  and  his  agent 
Betisac  burnt.  And  although  he  was  restored  in  1401,  he  did 
not  dare  show  himself  in  the  province,  but  delegated  his  author- 
ity to  Bernard  d'Armagnac.  He  died  in  Paris,  June  15,  1416, 
"leaving  vast  treasures  of  jewelr\%  objects  of  art,  and  especially 
of  illuminated  MSS.,  many  of  which  have  been  preserved."  * 

*  Comp.  Durrieu,  p.  24.  '  Hortis,  loc.  cit.,  p.  621. 

*  See  L.  Raynal,  Histoire  du  Berry,  Bourges,  1845. 

*  Encyclopedia  Britannica,  article  on  the  Duke  of  Bern*.  Hiver  de  Beau- 
voir  says  in  his  La  Librairie  de  Jean  Due  de  Berry  au  Chateau  de  Mebun-sur- 
Tevre,  Paris,  i860,  p.  i,  "Jean,  due  de  Berrj-,  frere  de  Charles  V,  fut  le  prince 
le  plus  magnifique  de  son  temps,  s'inquietant  peu  des  moyens  des  qu'il  s'agis- 
sait  de  batir,  et  sourtout  d'amasser  des  reliquaires  et  des  joyaux  d'eglise,  pour 
lesquels  sa  passion  alia  jusqu'a  la  manie."  And  in  Leopold  Delisle,  loc.  cit.,  I. 
p.  58,  we  read,  "On  savait  partout,  en  France  et  meme  a  I'etranger,  le  bonheur 
que  le  due  de  Berry  eprouvait  a  posseder  des  livres  et  la  munificence  avec 
laquelle  il  recompensait  les  cadeaux  qui  lui  etaient  faits.  Aussi  s'empressait- 
on  de  lui  ofFrir  des  volumes  dont  la  beaute  devait  flatter  les  plus  delicat  des 
bibliophiles  du  XIV'  et  du  XV'  siecle." 

xvi  Introductory  Note 

He  was  fiercely  satirized  in  Le  Songe  veritable,  an  anonymous 
pamphlet  of  the  fifteenth  century,  for,  as  Henri  Moranville 
tells  us,  in  order  to  satisfy  his  expensive  tastes,  "le  due  de 
Berry,  dans  les  lieutenances  royales  qui  lui  furent  confiees, 
n'hesita  jamais  a  accabler  d'exactions  de  tous  genres  les  popu- 
lations soumises,  bien  malgre  elles,  a  son  autorite.  Aussi  la 
reputation  de  ce  prince  etait-elle  execrable  de  son  temps; 
on  n'ignorait  point  ses  gouts  dispendieux  et  on  les  haissait, 
parce  qu'on  en  soufFrait  cruellement.  .  .  .  Apres  lui  avoir  retire 
tres  justement  la  lieutenance  en  Languedoc  a  la  suite  de  scan- 
dales  financiers,  oil  Betisac  avait  paye  pour  son  maitre,  on 
avait  eu  le  tort  de  la  lui  rendre.  Aussi,  n'ayant  plus  de  frein, 
depensait-il  enormement,  ruinant  le  domaine,  absorbant  le 
revenu  des  aides;  I'argent  fondait  litteralement  entre  ses  mains 
et  enrichissait  d'indignes  favoris.  Froissart  a  raconte  qu'il 
s'etait  pris  d'une  inexplicable  affection  pour  un  tailleur  de 
chausses;    le  Songe  veritable  parle  d'un  paveur.  "  ^ 

Laurence's  long  dedication,  in  which  he  expresses  his  indig- 
nation aroused  by  the  abuses  of  the  church,  the  bad  behaviour 
of  the  nobility  and  the  sufferings  of  the  agricultural  labourers, 
must  have  had  a  peculiar  interest  for  the  Duke  of  Berry; 
although  it  is  quite  probable  that  he  read  it  much  as  it  pleases 
one  to  think  that  the  good  Duke  Humphrey,  who  appears  to 
have  been  equally  egoistic,  avaricious,  untrustworthy,  intriguing 
and  dissolute,  read  Lydgate's  gravely  offered  moral  and  polit- 
ical wisdom,  with  serious  and  wholly  detached  interest.  It 
is  an  irony  of  Boccaccio's  fate  that  the  translations  of  his 
De  Casibus  should  have  been  dedicated  to  two  such  men.  It 
is  also  obvious  that  both  the  French  and  the  English  versions 
differed  greatly  from  the  original,  no  less  in  spirit  than  in 
style.  As  already  mentioned,  Boccaccio's  book  was  not  only 
more  dramatic  and  concise,  but,  in  spite  of  its  pretentious 
and  artificial  manner,  which  was  fashionable  at  the  time,  a  far 
more  powerful  and  able  work,  the  work  of  a  great  man.  The 
chief  effect  of  Laurence's  remarkable  capacity  for  making  in- 
terpolations was  only  to  impair  the  literary  value  of  the  origi- 
nal, however  much  it  may  have  added  to  its  interest  for  con- 

^  Henri  Moranville,  Le  Songe  veritable,  pamphlet  politique  d'un  parisien 
du  XV*  siecle.  In  Memoires  de  la  Societe  de  I'Histoire  de  Paris  et  de  Vlle-de- 
France,  Vol.  XVII.    (1890),  Paris,   1891,  p.  227. 

Introductory   Note  xvit 

temporary  readers;  and  Lydgate,  his  translator,  suffering  under 
the  same  inability  to  let  well  enough  alone,  might  have  made 
matters  still  worse  had  it  not  been  for  his  choice  of  verse 
instead  of  prose,  his  echoes  of  Chaucer,  and  the  occasional 
intrusion  of  his  by  no  means  unsympathetic  personality.  As 
it  is,  Lydgate's  version  is  very  superior  to  that  of  Laurence 
and  can  at  least  be  looked  upon  as  the  work  of  one  who, 
had  he  written  less,  might  have  been  an  artist,  an  implica- 
tion into  which  there  was  never  any  danger  of  Laurence's 

In  regard  to  the  spirit  of  the  three  authors,  especially  their 
reaction  to  their  environments,  it  can  be  said  with  reasonable 
certainty  that  Laurence  was  not  much  of  an  idealist  or  very 
distinguished  intellectually:  he  added  no  original  thought  to 
the  work,  except  perhaps  his  prefaced  plea  for  the  agricul- 
tural labourers,  who,  as  we  know,  were  so  badl}'  treated  as  to 
endanger  their  efficiency;  and  if  this  plea  was  the  utterance  of 
a  kind  heart,  as  no  doubt  it  was,  rather  than  an  expression  of 
precocious  utilitarianism,  nevertheless  his  loyalty  and  reverence 
for  the  great  personages  of  the  day  were  no  less  unquestioned 
than  his  approval  of  the  social  and  political  system  under  which 
they  lived;  and  his  willingness  to  kick  the  dead  lions  of  the 
past,  after  Boccaccio  had  kicked  them,  both  dead  and  alive, 
hardly  betrayed  a  disposition  to  rashness.  Still,  he  did  not 
hesitate  to  condemn  in  general  terms  what  he  considered 
wrong,  and  took  advantage  of  every  occasion  to  lament  the 
tyranny  and  avarice  of  the  feudal  lords,  laity  and  ecclesias- 
tics, and  the  unhappy  condition  of  the  people;  and  although 
he  appears  occasionally  to  have  reproved  the  nobility  (with- 
out being  too  specific),  his  tone  is  moderate,  supplicating, 
seldom  admonitory;  his  wish  was  to  serve  and  instruct,  and 
he  never  grew  weary  of  telling  his  princes  that  neither  their 
position  nor  their  lives  would  be  secure  unless  they  were  willing 

^  "Tuttoche  il  Lydgate  modestamente  si  contentasse  d'essere  tenuto  per 
traduttore  del  Premierfait,  11  suo  lavoro  puo  dirsi  opera  originale.  Egli  aveva 
anima  da  poeta,  e  lo  manifesta  gia  I'ardito  pensiero  di  tradurre  in  versi  un' 
opera  di  prosa.  Da  poeta,  egli  modifica,  come  piu  gli  toma,  I'ordine  de'  capi- 
toli,  e  allarga  e  rawiva  il  testo  francese,  abbastanza  prosaico,  che  gli  sta  di- 
nanzi.  Un  concetto  filosofico  egli  abbellisce  con  leggiadre  similitudini  tolte  per 
lo  piu  da'  fiori  o  dalle  gemrae;  le  storie  e  le  leggende  rende  piacevoli  con  parti- 
colarita  immaginose,  poetiche,"  etc.  —  Hortis,  p.  649. 

xviii  Introductory  Note 

to  defend  the  people  and  preserve  them  in  their  well-being  and 

Boccaccio  studied  his  princes  from  a  wholly  different  point 
of  view.  They  were  to  him  objects  of  hostility  and  bitter 
scorn,  for  whom  he  had  neither  sympathy  nor  respect.'^  As 
he  said  in  his  dedicatory  Epistle  to  Mainardo,  there  was  none 
living,  pope,  emperor,  or  king,  to  whom  he  cared  to  dedicate 
his  book.  They  made  him  sick.*  And  he  believed  that  as  a 
result  of  their  luxury,  magnificence  and  pride,  their  avarice, 
idleness  and  licentiousness,  their  hatred  of  one  another  and 
desire  for  revenge,  all  honesty,  justice  and  virtue  were  lost, 
and  that  by  the  example  of  their  superiors  the  people  were 
contaminated  and  led  into  evil  customs.^  So  he  wrote,  hoping 
to  bring  the  erring  to  the  right  path,  to  suppress  vices,  to 
arouse  the  indolent  from  their  slumber,  and  to  incite  all  men 

*  Hortis,  p.  627. 

'  Qualiter  hoc  faciant  principes  hodierni,  viderit  Deus.  In  Tyrannidem 
versi  sunt  regii  mores,  et  despecta  impotentia  subditorum:  auro,  gemmisque 
splendere  uolunt,  longo  seruientium  ordine  circumdari,  palatia  in  excelsum 
erigere,  grege  pellicum,  et  histrionum,  deformi  sodalicio  oblectari:  obscoeni- 
tatibus  aures  complere,  conuiuia  in  longissimam  noctem  deducere,  ebrietati- 
bus,  atque  ignominiosis  libidinibus  vacare,  dies  in  somnos  profundissimos 
perdere,  populos  in  suam  salutem  uiglles  permanere:  et  bella  non  iure,  sed 
iniuria  sumere,  magnificum  arbitrantur:  consilia  proborum  respuere,  sibi 
tantiim  credere:  bonos  deprimere,  improbos  extoUere:  ciuitates  vectigalibus 
onerare,  ciues  torquere,  in  exilium  agere,  trucidare,  &  luti  more  calce  calcare. 
O  scelestum  malum,  0  praedonum,  lurconumque,  ne  regum  dicam,  inhonesta, 
&  horrenda  facinora.  O  longa,  immo  vecors  pacientia  populorum,  &  stolida 
confidentia  dominorum,  si  putent,  dum  talia  peragunt,  a  populis  sibi  obsequi 
cum  fide.  Quaeso  cum  videam  eum,  cui  honorem  meum,  libertatem,  maiesta- 
tem,  officium,  prseeminentiam  omnem  concessi:  cui  obsequium  iussus  im- 
pendo,  cui  desudo,  cuius  substantias  meas  imparcior,  cuius  in  salutem  sangui- 
nem  effundo  meum,  in  extenuationem,  desolationem,  vituperium,  &  perniciem 
inuigilare  meam:  sanguinem  sitire,  haurire,  emungere,  inhonestis  fceminis, 
&  perditissimis  quibuscunque  hominibus  prodige  facultates  (quibus  susten- 
tare  egenos,  et  miserabiles  debuerant)  efFundere,  atque  disperdere:  &  in  con- 
silium niti  pessimum,  &  pessimis  operibus  delectari:  ac  circa  salutem  publi- 
cam  segnem,  torpentem,  desidemque  video,  regem  dicam?  principem  colam? 
tamquam  domino  fidem  seruabo?  absit.  Hostis  est,  in  hunc  coniurare,  arma 
capessere,  insidias  tendere,  vires  opponere  magnanimi  est,  sanctissimum  est, 
&omnino  necessarium.  Cum  nulla  fere  deo  sit  acceptior  hostia  Tyranni  san- 
guine: durum  quippe,  &  importabile  pro  meritisiniuriam  reportare.  Recalci- 
trent  quantum  libet  reges,  si  centies  negent,  regnant  tamen  sufFragio  populorum, 
eorumque  vires  illos  formidabiles  faciunt.  Quasi  minus  iuste  caedibus,  aut 
iniuriis  extenuent,  suum  sentient  confestim  diminutum  imperium. —  De  Cas- 
ibus,  II.  s,  In  Superbos,  from  Hieronymus  Ziegler's  edition,  Augsburg,  1544. 
>  See  Epistle  to  Mainardo.  *  Comp.  Boccaccio's  preface. 

Introductory  Note  xix 

to  virtue;  but  unlike  Laurence  and  Lydgate,  he  wrote  not 
for  the  personal  advantage  of  the  princes,  for  whose  benefit 
his  translators  believed  their  subjects  existed,  but  for  the 
welfare  of  the  community.^ 

Boccaccio  was  also  responsible  for  an  attack  on  women  in 
the  eighteenth  chapter  of  Book  II.,  In  Mulieres,  which  deserves 
more  than  passing  reference.  We  know  that  invectives  and 
satires  of  women  were  especially  popular  during  the  Middle 
Ages.  Stories,  many  of  them  of  oriental  origin,  such  as  were 
included  in  collections  like  the  Disciplina  Clericalis  of  Petrus 
Alfunsi  (baptised  in  1106),  the  influence  of  asceticism,  of 
sentiments  similar  to  those  expressed  in  the  latter  part  of  the 
third  chapter  of  Isaiah,  and  of  writers  like  the  thirteenth 
century  Franciscan,  Brother  Jacopone  da  Todi,-  whose  Lauda 
viii.,  "O  femene,  guardate,"  is  still  delightful  to  read,  helped 
to  create  an  atmosphere  in  which  Boccaccio  found  himself 
even  more  at  home  than  Guido  delle  Colonne,  author  of  the 
"Troy  Book,"  had  been  a  century  earlier.  For  towards  the 
end  of  1354,  a  few  years  before  the  De  Casibus  was  begun,  he 
at  the  age  of  forty-one  was  most  unkindly  rebuffed  and  ridi- 
culed by  a  young  widow  to  whom  he  had  been  imprudent 
enough  to  write  declaring  his  affection.  At  first,  as  Hauvette 
tells  the  story,  he  was  overcome  with  mortification,  and  fancied 
that  he  could  see  the  passers-by  pointing  their  fingers  at  him 
in  the  street  —  he  could  even  hear  their  smothered  laughter  — 
for  the  rebuff  had  included  personal  remarks  of  a  gross  nature, 
and  he  was  grey  and  precociously  stout;  but  as  time  went  on 
his    mortification    gave    way    to    anger,  which,   according  to 

^  "II  Boccaccio,  cittadino  di  una  libera  repubblica,  da  lungo  dimentico  del 
feudalistno,  aveva  co'  propri  occhi  veduto  il  mal  govemo  de'  principi  d'  allora, 
e  la  cacciata  di  uno  che  aveva  tentato  di  farsi  tiranno  in  Firenze.  Dallo  studio 
amoroso  e  intelligente  dell'antichita  latina  egli  aveva  acquistato  un  modo 
di  pensare  democratico  e  pagano,  che  s'accordava  mirabilmente  col  suo  amore 
d'indipendenza.  II  Premierfait  legge  tutti  gli  autori,  ma  de'  profani  e  classici 
s'appropria  le  notizie,  non  il  modo  di  pensare.  I  suoi  libri  erano  chiesti  e  letti 
dai  principi;  ma  nelle  opere  del  Boccaccio,  piu  spesso  che  panegirici,  i  prin- 
cipi potevano  leggere  la  propria  satira."  —  Hortis,  p.  626. 

•  For  Brother  Jacopone,  see  two  admirable  articles  in  the  "  Times  Literary 
Supplement"  of  April  15  and  December  23,  1920.  The  Laude  have  been 
edited  by  Giovanni  Ferri  and  published  by  the  Societd  Filologica  Romano, 
Rome,  1910,  as  well  as  in  the  series  Scritiori  d' Italia,  Bari,  1915,  and  there  are 
translations,  together  with  the  texts,  of  many  of  them  in  Evelyn  Underbill's 
"Jacopone  da  Todi,"  London,  1919. 

XX  Introductory  Note 

Hauvette,  "  fut  tres  vif,  et  se  manifesta  tout  d'abord  par  un 
immense  desir  de  vengeance."  So  he  sat  down  and  wrote  his 
Corhaccio,  an  unimaginative  and  unpleasantly  interesting  book, 
and  was  apparently  still  very  angry  when  he  wrote  the  In 
Mulieres  chapter.of  the  De  Casibus,  in  which,  returning  to  the 
same  subject,  he  presents  us  with  another  instructive,  if  one- 
sided, description  of  the  artifices  employed  for  various  purposes 
by  the  women  of  fashion  of  his  time.  However,  as  we  have 
seen,  he  did  not  spare  the  men,  nor,  for  that  matter,  did  Brother 
Jacopone;  their  blows  were  equitably  distributed. 

The  attitude  of  Lydgate  to  his  surroundings,  and  especially 
to  his  princes,  was  quite  different  from  that  of  either  Boccac- 
cio or  Laurence.  Although  always  ready  to  counsel  and  advise, 
and,  when  he  considered  it  necessary,  to  admonish,  he  was 
never  rude,  like  Boccaccio,  nor  servile,  like  Laurence,  but  wrote 
throughout  as  a  man  of  the  world,  an  aristocrat  and  courtier, 
whose  contempt  for  the  political  capacity  of  the  people  was 
exceeded  only  by  Boccaccio's  scorn  for  the  political  and  moral 
accomplishments  of  their  sovereigns.  He  omitted  most  of 
Boccaccio's  censure  of  the  clerics,  which  Laurence  had  allowed 
to  remain  in  his  versions,  and  showed  himself  by  his  fierceness  to 
heretics  much  less  tolerant  in  religious  matters  than  the  great 
Italian.  Neither  foolish  nor  ill-bred  enough  to  take  his  "manly 
and  wise"  patron  to  task  for  his  infidelities  and  excesses,  he 
nevertheless  stood  out  firmly  enough  for  the  domestic  virtues 
and  did  not  hesitate  to  tell  princes,  at  least  in  the  abstract, 
to  lead  sober,  industrious  lives  and  to  set  aside  their  concu- 
bines.^ Murder,  poison,  bloodthirstiness  and  tyranny  (p.  310), 
deceit  (p.  323),  dishonesty  (p.  416),  slander  and  hasty  belief 
in  it  (p.  126),  pride  (pp.  38,  170),  suspicion,  ingratitude  (p.  655), 
bad  behaviour  to  the  church  (p.  278),  covetousness  (p.  432), 
and  vulgar  materialism  (p.  399),  are  among  the  things  which 
he  mentions  with  special  reprobation  in  his  envoys. 

In  spite  of  his  expressed  opinion  that  the  people  were  there 
chiefly  for  the  personal  advantage  of  their  rulers,*  he  never- 
theless believed  that  if  a  man  of  humble  origin  is  ordained  by 
God  to  be  a  king  he  will  succeed  in  overcoming  the  resistance 
of  all  earthly  princes;  ^  for  nobility  is  by  the  grace  of  God  and 

'  Pp.  299,  360.  "  Comp.,  for  example,  L  1393. 

3  See  the  stories  of  Nimrod,  I.  1282,  and  Cyrus,  III.  2962. 

Introductory  Not£  xxi 

not  by  blood,  and  poverty  is  no  bar  to  royalty;  nor  can  any- 
thing good  ever  come  of  an  evil  stock.  His  attitude  towards 
women  remains  the  same  as  it  was  in  the  "Troy  Book:  "  some 
of  Boccaccio's  remarks  he  leaves  out;  for  others  he  apologises. 
It  must  be  remembered,  however,  that  Boccaccio  also  qualified 
his  apparently  sweeping  assertions,  and  that  not  only  the  senti- 
ments expressed  on  pages  i88  and  189,  but  the  very  words,  are 
his  as  well  as  Lydgate's.  An  old  and  not  very  brilliant  jest  on 
marriage  makes  its  appearance  apropos  of  the  story  of  Orpheus; 
but  it  evidently  pleased  Lydgate  and  his  readers  (the  lines  are 
marked  in  approval  in  several  MSS.),  just  as  Dr.  Thomas  Lisle's 
version  is  said  to  have  pleased  Benjamin  Franklin,  and,  as  we 
have  reason  to  believe,  it  pleases  certain  of  the  public  to-day.^ 
Although  Lydgate's  work  was  much  admired  by  his  con- 
temporaries and  immediate  successors  and  enjoyed  at  least 
one  hundred  and  fifty  years  of  popularity,  no  one  in  more 
recent  times,  so  far  as  I  am  aware,  except  Thomas  Gray  in  his 
"Remarks,"  who  was  hardly  enthusiastic,  and  Mrs.  Brown- 
ing, *  who  approved  of  him  for  other  than  purely  aesthetic 
reasons,  has  given  him  much  praise  as  an  artist.  A  writer  who 
usually  contrives  to  spoil  even  his  most  felicitous  passages 
before  he  has  done  with  them,  who  systematically  pads  out 
his  lines  with  stock  phrases  and  rhyme-tags,  and  pours  out 
unending  streams  of  verse  during  apparently  the  whole  of  a 
very  long  life,  cannot  well  be  taken  seriously  as  one  of  the 
great  poets.  We  search  his  works  in  vain  for  evidence  either 
of  imagination  or  originality,  of  sympathetic  insight  into  char- 
acter, sensibility,  delicacy  of  feeling  or  a  fine  instinct  for  form; 
nor  is  he  distinguished  for  more  purely  intellectual  qualities. 
On  occasion  he  shows  that  he  has  power  and  rises  to  a 
sombre  dignity  of  manner,  well  seen  in  parts  of  the  "  Fall  of 
Princes"'  and  in  the  Daunce  of  Macbabree,  and  this,  together 
with  a  strain  of  melancholy,  which  was  in  the  air  at  the  time 
and  a  few  years  later  inspired  Francois  Villon  to  his  finest 

^  For  Dr.  Thomas  Lisle  and  "  The  Power  of  Music,"  see  "  The  London 
Mercury,"  Vol.  V.,  p.  295.  For  a  modem  instance,  see  the  "At  Random" 
column  of  "The  Observer,"  February  27,  1921. 

*In  "The  Book  of  the  Poets."    Comp.  Schick,  p.  dvii. 

•See  the  Envoy  on  Rome,  IL  4460,  the  Envoy  on  Ciesar,  especially  the 
latter  part,  VL  2871,  the  Envoy  on  Charles  of  Anjou,  IX.  2017,  and  the 
Chapter  and  Envoy  on  King  John  of  France,  IX.  3134. 

xxii  Introductory  Note 

work,  is  perhaps  his  strongest  point.  No  doubt  in  his  day 
he  was  highly  commended  for  both  pathos  and  humour;  but 
the  latter  when  not  unconscious  is  as  a  rule  little  more  than 
clumsy  playfulness,  and  the  former  too  obvious  and  exagger- 
ated to  make  any  deep  impression  on  the  reader  (although 
Thomas  Gray  seems  to  have  thought  highly  of  it)/  and  neither 
is  sufficient  to  make  a  poet.  However,  considering  his  intel- 
lectual environment,  his  position,  and  his  public,  he  surely  did 
all  that  can  reasonably  be  expected  of  him.  The  rude  men  of 
action  of  the  time  were  slow-witted  and  uneducated;  even  the 
clerks,  if  we  are  to  judge,  as  we  must,  by  their  literary  per- 
formances, were  a  singularly  prosaic  lot,  and  taste  was  evi- 
dently unknown  in  their  circles.  As  Gray  remarked,  "it  is  a 
folly  to  judge  of  the  understanding  and  of  the  patience  of 
those  times  by  our  own.  They  [the  reading  public]  loved, 
I  will  not  say  tediousness,  but  length  and  a  train  of  circum- 
stances in  a  narration."  They  got  both  in  the  "Fall  of 
Princes."  Even  Boccaccio  laid  aside  much  of  his  genius  when 
he  began  to  write  histories  for  the  edification  of  the  men  of  the 
world  of  his  day;  and  whatever  qualities  of  greatness  the  work 
possesses  lie  rather  in  the  hammer  blows  of  its  subject-matter 
than  in  the  art  either  of  the  author  or  of  his  translators. 

On  the  other  hand,  the  "  Fall  of  Princes"  is  a  document  of 
considerable  historical  and  philological  importance.  Taken 
together  with  the  original  Latin  and  Laurence's  French  trans- 
lation, it  does  indeed  illumine  the  intellectual  life  of  its  day,* 
if  only  faintly,  for  the  thought  reflected  on  the  pages  of  both 
Laurence  and  Lydgate  is  unfortunately  that  of  a  very  narrow 
and  conservative  group  and  cannot  be  considered  as  represen- 
tative of  the  best  minds  of  the  time.  The  most  that  may  be 
said  of  either  of  them  is  that  he  was  able  to  recognize  that,  in 
general,  men  reap  what  they  have  sown. 

From  the  philological  point  of  view  the  book  is  of  interest, 
in  part  because  we  may  assume  that  the  language  in  which 
it  was  written  is  the  English  of  the  most  highly  educated  classes 
of  its  period,  in  part  because,  just  as  in  the  case  of  the  "  Troy 

^  Gray  says  that  Lydgate,  in  the  Epistle  of  Canace,  "  has  touched  the  very 
heart-springs  of  compassion  with  so  masterly  a  hand,  as  to  merit  a  place  among 
the  greatest  poets." 

*  Comp.  Hortis,  p.  654. 

Introductory  Note  xxiii 

Book,"  many  words  borrowed  early  in  the  fifteenth  century 
from  the  French  make  their  first  documented  appearance  on  its 
pages.  Practically  the  entire  literature  of  the  "  Fall  of  Princes  " 
has  yet  to  be  investigated.  There  is  no  modem  edition  either 
of  Boccaccio  or  of  Laurence;  neither  the  one  nor  the  other 
has  been  printed  since  the  sixteenth  century;  no  adequate 
study  of  their  sources  has  been  published;  and  except  for 
Dr.  Koeppel's  short  essay/  we  have  no  account  of  Lydgate's 
sources  or  of  the  influence  of  his  work  on  succeeding  writers. 
The  most  recent  edition  of  the  "  Mirror  for  Magistrates  "  is 
Haslewood's  of  1815. 

The  text  of  the  present  edition  is  based  on  MS.  Bodley 
263  (B),  collated  throughout  with  the  British  Museum  MSS. 
Royal  18.  D.  iv.  (R)  and  Harley  1245  (H),  and  in  part 
(especially  in  regard  to  doubtful  points)  with  MSS.  Royal 
18.  B.  xxxi.  (R  3),  Harley  4203  (H  5),  and  the  Rylands- 
Jersey  MS.  (J).  Use  has  also  been  made  of  Sloane  4031,  Add. 
21,410,  the  Phillips-Garrett  MS.  in  the  Library  of  Princeton 
University,  and  Tottel's  print,  which,  considering  the  time 
of  its  publication,  is  most  excellent  and  derived  from  a  good 
manuscript.  The  "Envoy  to  Gloucester"  (IX.  3303-3540), 
the  "Last  Envoy"  (IX.  3541-3588),  and  six  stanzas  missing 
from  the  story  of  Lucrece  (II.  1058-1099)  have  been  supplied 
from  Harley  1766,  a  unique  abridged  but  early  MS.,  and  one 
stanza  of  the  Villon-like  "Envoy  on  Rome"  (11.  4460 flp.) 
is  from  Tottel,  collated  with  the  Phillips-Garrett  MS. 

In  preparing  the  text  for  the  press  I  have  supplied  capital 
letters  when  necessar>'  and  punctuated  according  to  modern 
usage;  but  I  have  not  noted  blunders  or  slips  of  the  pen 
that  were  subsequently  corrected  by  the  original  copyist 
unless  they  are  of  special  interest.  All  alterations  in  spelling 
by  the  editor  are  noted,  with  one  exception:  the  awkward 
form  "wordly"  of  the  Bodley  copyist,  for  which  I  have  con- 
sistently substituted  "worldly";  and  all  other  changes  in  the 
text  are  marked  by  asterisks.  The  numerous  hooks  and  flour- 
ishes of  the  scribe,  which,  when  they  signify  only  a  final  e 
(and  often  they  are  quite  meaningless),  have  not  as  a  rule 
been  expanded  unless  the  e  is  of  more  than  graphical  sig- 
nificance. For  the  crossed  i?'s,  ^'s,  /'s  and  double  /'s,  I  have 
1  Munich,  1885. 

xxiv  Introductory  Note 

substituted  plain  letters,  except  when  the  horizontal  stroke 
actually  stands  for  a  contraction,  as,  for  example,  "Boch" 
with  crossed  h  =  Bochaj,  "who"  and  *'hy"  with  ^'s  crossed  = 
whom  and  hyw,  "makyg"  with  crossed  k  =  makywg.  The 
crossed  /  is  usually  a  contraction  for  a  following  e,  as  is  also 
the  crossed  double  /;  the  latter,  which  is  commonly  used  in 
manuscripts  of  the  period  to  represent  Wes,  is  rarely,  if  at  all, 
employed  for  that  purpose  in  B.  The  occasional  horizontal 
strokes  over  w's  and  ns  and  us  are  as  a  rule  omitted  to 
avoid  confusion,  and  expanded  only  when  actually  necessary, 
as  is  certainly  not  the  case  in  such  words  as  Chaucer,  up, 
favour,  or  dismembred. 

In  the  following  brief  survey  of  the  contents  of  the  "  Fall 
of  Princes"  the  references  are  to  the  pages,  and  passages  of 
special  interest  or  charm  are  marked  with  asterisks. 

Book  I.  Prologue;  *  Adam  and  Eve,  13;  Nimrod,  28; 
*  Against  the  Pride  of  Princes,  36;  Saturn  and  the  Process 
of  Time,  39;  Zoroaster,  Ninus,  Moses,  42;  Ogygus,  Isis,  45; 
Erysichthon,  Danaus,  Philomela  and  Procne,  49;  Cadmus, 
51;  ^etes,  Jason,  Theseus,  Scilla,  Nisus,  60;  Sisera,  Deborah, 
Gideon,  79;  Jabin,  86;  CEdipus,  87;  *Atreus  and  Thyestes, 
106;  The  Story  of  Theseus,  118;  *  Envoy  on  Hasty  Credence, 
126;  Facetious  defence  of  Woman  accused  by  Bochas  of 
unstableness,  132;  On  the  Suspicion  and  Dread  of  Lords, 
134;  Althaea  and  Meleager,  136;  Hercules,  141  (lines  5104 
fF.  are  excellent);  Narcissus,  Byblis,  Myrrha,  Orpheus  (play- 
ful lines  about  marriage),  156;  Marpessa,  Priam  and  Troy 
Book,  166;  *Against  the  Pride  of  Those  who  Trust  in  Riches, 
170;  *  In  Praise  of  Poverty,  172;  *  Samson,  179;  *  Chapter 
on  the  Malice  of  Women,  184;  Pyrrhus,  son  of  Achilles,  190; 
Canace  and  Macareus,   193;    *  The  Letter  of  Canace,   194. 

Book  II.  Saul,  204;  On  the  Virtue  of  Obedience,  214;  Reho- 
boam,  216;  On  the  Governance  of  Princes  (analogy  of  human 
body  to  body  politic),  221;  Mucius  Scaevola,  Lucrece  (first 
appearance),  225;  Appius  and  Virginia,  237;  Jeroboam,  Zerah, 
Ahab,  Athaliah,  240;  Dido,  253;  *  Satirical  Envoy  to  Wid- 
ows by  Lydgate,  262;  *  Sardanapalus,  On  Virtuous  Industry, 
263;  *  Amaziah  and  Uzziah,  Jehoash  (good  lines  on  the  Cypress 
and  the  PufF-Ball),  272;  Hoshea,  Sennacherib,  Zedekiah,  278; 
The  Story  of  Cyrus'  Youth  (nobility  comes  by  grace  of  God 
not  by  blood,  poverty  no  bar  to  a  throne),  283;  *  Candaules 
and  Gyges,  294;  Midas,  Belshazzar,  Envoy  advising  Princes 
to  set  aside  their  Concubines,  296;    Croesus   and  Cyrus,  the 

Introductory  Note  xxv 

end  of  Cyrus,  300;  Romulus  and  Remus,  311;  *  On  the  Abuse 
of  Deifying  Men,  318;  Metius  SufFetius,  319;  *  Against  De- 
ception, Hostilius,  323;    *  Envoy  on  Rome,  325. 

Book  III.  *  Prologue;  the  Strife  between  Fortune  and 
Glad  Poverty  (tedious  except  for  a  few  lighter  touches),  333; 
Hostilius,  Ancus  Marcius,  Lucinio,  349;  Lucrece  (second 
appearance),  355;  *  Bochas  on  the  Immorality  of  Princes, 
360;  Cambyses,  Smerdis,  Oropastes,  Otanes,  Darius,  374; 
Coriolanus,  381;  Miltiades,  386;  Envoy  on  the  Fickleness 
of  the  People;  Xerxes,  Leonidas,  390;  *  On  the  Vulgar  Materi- 
alism of  Men,  399;  Artabanus  and  Darius,  402;  Phalanthus 
and  his  Spartans,  405;    Ceso  Quintius,  Cloelius  Gracchus,  410; 

*  On  the  Tyranny  of  Appius,  413 ;  On  the  Dishonesty  of  Judges 
and  The  Former  Age  (some  interesting  lines),  416;  *  An  Ex- 
clamation  against   Dishonest  Officials,   419;    Alcibiades,   420; 

*  Exclamation  on  the  Death  of  Alcibiades,  430;  *  On  Worldly 
Covetousness  and  Ambition,  432;  *  In  Praise  of  Industrious 
Men,  On  Poets,  434;  Machaeus,  Himilco,  Hanno,  437;  *  Against 
Covetous  People,  447;  Evagoras  of  C^'prus,  Theo  of  Egypt, 
Amyntas,  Philip  of  Macedon,  Epam  nondas,  454;  Haman  and 
Mordecai,  Esther,  462;  Artaxerxes  and  Cyrus,  Darius,  An 
Envoy  on  Fraternal  Strife,  465. 

Book  IV.  *  Prologue  on  Poets  and  Writing,  473;  Marcus 
Manlius,  Roman  Crowns  and  Wreaths,  479;  A  description  of 
Roman  Triumphs,  the  Tarpeian  Rock,  487;  Nectanebes, 
Pausanias,  Heliarchus,  492;  *  Dionysius  of  Syracuse,  Envoy 
on  Tyranny,  on  Princes  who  hold  themselves  Gods,  495;  Poly- 
crates,  500;  Alexander  and  Callisthenes,  504;  Alexander  of 
Epirus,  513;  Darius  and  Alexander  the  Great,  517;  *  Envoy 
on  Darius,  527;  On  the  Misery  and  Ruin  of  W'ar,  the  Heirs 
of  Alexander,  Eumenes,  Antigonus,  528;  Envoy  on  Sudden 
Adversity,  *  Queen  Olympias,  536;  Envoy  on  Murder  and 
Vengeance,  543;  Agathocles  (a  crown  of  gold  is  not  suitable 
for  the  head  of  a  knave;  a  crowned  ass  is  more  to  dread  than 
a  lion),  545;  Envoy  —  ever\'  creature  takes  after  his  parents' 
stock,  553;  Cassander,  Bersane,  Antipater,  Peucestas,  Amyn- 
tas, Sandrocottus,  554;  Seleucus  and  Antiochus,  Arsinoe  and 
Ceraunus,  *  Envoy  on  Fortune's  Variance,  562;  Ceraunus 
slain  by  the  Gauls,  Brennus,  who  had  no  respect  for  the  gods, 
Pyrrhus  of  Epirus,  Aristotimus,  569;  Arsinoe,  wife  of  Magas, 
and  Demetrius,  her  daughter's  husband.   582. 

Book  V.  Bochas'  Disdain  of  those  who  set  all  their  Joy  to 
excel  in  Beauty,  Spurina,  *  Envoy  on  the  Fragility  of  Worldly 
Fairness,  585;  Seleucus  and  Antiochus,  5S8;  Laodameia  of 
Sicily,  Cleomenes,  Hiero  of  Syracuse,  Xanthippus,  592;  Marcus 
Regulus,  597;  Ptolemy  Philopator,  Britomaris,  608;  Syphax 
and  Masinissa,  Hasdrubal,  Scipio,  614;  Nabis  of  Macedonia, 
617;    The  Wars  between  Rome  and  Carthage,  619;    Perseus 

xxvi  Introductory  Note 

of  Sparta,  the  Destruction  of  Corinth,  621;  Seleucus  and 
Antiochus,  Laodice  and  the  Ring  and  Anchor,  626;  Hieronymus 
of  Syracuse,  the  Ingratitude  of  the  Romans  to  the  Scipios, 
6^0;  Philopoemen,  634;  the  Story  of  Hannibal,  638;  Prusias 
of  Bithynia,  Persa  of  Macedon,  Azariah,  Andriscus  (a  cur  is 
more  impudent  than  a  lion),  Alexander  Balas,  645;  An  Envoy 
on  Ingratitude;  Caius  and  Tiberius  Gracchus,  Hasdrubal's 
wife,  Jonathan  Maccabeus,  Demetrius  11. ,  Zebina,  Bituitus, 
655;    Ptolemy  Euergetes,  Jugurtha,  666. 

Book  VI.  *  Fortuna  appears  to  Bochas;  they  converse  to- 
gether, 675;  Fortuna  tells  Bochas  about  Saturninus,  Marius, 
Drusus,  Fanaticus,  Spartacus,  Viriathus,  Orodes  and  Pompey, 
689;  Marius  and  Sulla,  701;  Mithridates,  711;  Envoy  on 
Worldly  Variance,  Eucratides  of  Scythia,  Orodes  and  Crassus, 
Fymbria,  Adrian  of  low  degree,  usurper  of  Rome,  Sothimus, 
Description  of  Thrace,  720;  Pompey  and  the  Wars  with  Caesar, 
729;  Pompey's  Death,  Julius  Caesar,  Juba,  *  A  Digression  on 
Clothes,  the  last  Scipio,  Pompey's  son  Pompey,  743;  the 
Death  of  Caesar,  Envoy  on  Caesar,  Octavian,  TuUy,  751;  A 
Chapter  on  Rhetoric  and  Oratory,  763;  Sextus  Pompey, 
Antony  and  Cleopatra,  769. 

Book  VII.  Antony's  son,  Antony,  Caesarion,  Julia,  Agrippa, 
Cassius,  *  Herod,  Herod  Antipas,  775;  *  The  Words  between 
Messalina,  Caligula,  and  Tiberius,  784;  *  Nero,  Eleazar,  Galba, 
Otho,  *  Vitellius,  791;  Bochas  on  The  Vice  of  Gluttony,  *A 
Description  of  the  Golden  World,  806;  *  The  Destruction  of 
Jerusalem,  812. 

Book  VIII.  *  Petrarch  appears  to  Bochas,  823;  the  Roman 
Emperors,  Domitian,  Commodus,  Severus,  Antoninus,  Macri- 
nus,  Antoninus  Aurelius,  Marcus  Aurelius,  Maximus,  Gor- 
dian,  the  two  Philips,  Decius,  Gallus,  Volusian,  ^milian,  Gallien, 
*  Valerian,  Gallienus,  Quintilius,  Aurelian  the  Dane,  Probus, 
Clarus,  829;  Zenobia,  842;  Diocletian,  Carausius,  Maximian, 
Galerius,  Maxence,  Licinius,  Constantine  and  Crispus,  844; 
Constans  and  Constantius,  Vetranio,  853;  *  Constantine  the 
Great,  856;  *  Julian  the  Apostate,  On  Blasphemy  and  Oaths, 
864;  Valens,  Theodosius  I.,  Hermanric,  Gratian,  *  Theodo- 
sius  the  Great,  870;  Alaric,  Radagaisus,  Rufinus,  Stilicho, 
Heraclius,  Odoacer,  and  *  On  the  Conduct  of  Kings,  882; 
"Remembre  o  Rome,"  Trasilla,  Busar,  Philete,  Symmachus, 
Boethius,  894;  *  King  Arthur  and  Britain,  An  Exclamation 
against  Men  who  are  Unkind  to  their  Kindred,  898;  Gelimer, 
Amarales,  Sindbal,  *  Queen  Rosamond,  913. 

Book  IX.  The  Emperor  Maurice,  *  Muhammad,  *  Brun- 
hilde,  919;  Heraclius  and  Chosroes,  Constantine,  son  of  Hera- 
clius, who  was  murdered  in  a  stew,  Gisulf  and  his  wife  Romilda, 
Justinian  Temerarius,  Philippicus,  an  odious  heretic,  933; 
The  Covetousness  and  Pride  of  the  Priesthood,  Four  strangely 

Introductory  Note  xxvii 

dressed  kings  of  Lombardy;  Desiderius,  Pope  Joan,  a  woman 
with  child,  Arnulph,  natural  son  of  Carloman,  made  unfortu- 
nate by  worms  and  lice,  942;  Bochas  against  the  Pride  of 
Princes,  Pope  John  XII.,  Duke  Charles  of  Lorraine  confounded 
by  hunger,  Salamon  of  Hungary,  Diogenes  Romanus,  Robert 
of  Normandy,  Josselyn  of  Rages,  Andronicus  I.  Comnenus, 
Envoy  on  Vicious  Princes,  948;  the  Emperor  Isaac,  Robert 
Surrentine,  Tancred,  Guy  de  Lusignan,  John  of  Brienne, 
Henry,  son  of  Frederick  II.,  A  Commendation  of  Love  be- 
tween Kindred,  962;  Manfred  of  Naples,  Enzio  of  Sardinia, 
A  Water  that  makes  Thieves  Blind  and  an  Herb  that  makes 
People  Laugh  themselves  to  Death,  Frederick,  son  of  Alphonse 
of  Castile,  Maumetus  of  Persia,  and  Argones,  970;  Charles 
of  Lorraine,  *  Envoy  to  Charles,  Ugolino  of  Pisa,  Aiton  of 
Armenia,  Pope  Boniface  VUL,  who  ate  his  hands,  972;  The 
Order  of  Templars,  A  Commendation  of  three  Philosophers 
for  their  Patience,  A  Commendation  of  Patience,  Philip  the 
Fair  and  his  Sons,  979;  *  Dante  appears  to  Bochas  and  tells 
him  to  write  the  Story  of  Duke  Gaultier,  990;  *  Philippa 
Catanensi,  Louis  of  Jerusalem,  *  King  John  of  France,  998; 
*  Envoy  to  John  of  France,  *  A  Chapter  of  Fortune,  Envoy 
to  Duke  Humphrey,  *  The  Last  Envoy,  Words  of  the  Trans- 
lator to  his  Book. 


During  the  years  that  I  have  been  occupied  with  the  "Fall 
of  Princes"  the  conclusion  has  been  forced  upon  me  more  and 
more  that  Lydgate's  decasyllabic  lines  are  far  better,  in  the 
sense  of  being  more  capably  written  from  a  purely  metri- 
cal point  of  view,  than  some  of  his  modern  critics,  who 
evidently  had  no  proper  facilities  for  studying  his  work,  were 
able  to  discover.  It  is  most  improbable  that  his  reputation 
as  a  poet  among  his  contemporaries  and  immediate  successors 
would  have  been  as  great  as  it  was  had  he  not  had  a  good  ear 
for  rhythm  and  been  a  competent  and,  in  spite  of  the  conven- 
tion of  exaggerated  modesty  which  led  him  to  speak  always 
in  disparagement  of  his  ability,  skilful  writer  of  metrical  Eng- 
lish. Nor  is  it  easy  to  believe  that  his  introduction  of  variety 
into  what  would  have  been  otherwise  an  intolerably  monoto- 
nous flow  of  regular  decasyllabics  was  not  both  conscious 
and  intentional.  As  Mr.  Bridges  has  pointed  out  in  one  of 
his  Oxford  lectures  on  poetry,  the  fundamental  motive  of  our 
pleasure  in  the  beauty  of  verse  "may  be  described  as  a  balance 
between  the  expected  and  the  unexpected,"  that  "arises  from 
our  knowledge  of  the  normal  rhythm  (the  t5^pe)  beneath  the 
varieties  which  the  poet  delights  to  extend  and  elaborate;  his 
skill  in  this  sort  of  embroidery  being  to  push  its  disguises  as 
far  as  he  dare  without  breaking  away  from  the  type."  ^  It 
has  also  been  well  said  by  Mr.  Owen  Barfield,^  that  the  music 
of  poetry  is  "a  kind  of  elusive  discrepancy  between  two 
rhythms.  Some  rigidly  regular  metrical  form  is  taken,  .  .  . 
and  on  to  this,  as  on  an  iron  frame,  is  fitted  a  soft  fabric 
of  words  already  woven  in  a  rhythm  of  their  own  .  .  .  the 
rhythm  of  natural  speech  or  prose.  .  .  .  The  two  rhythms 
clash  and  overlap,  and  subtly  intersect  in  such  a  way  that  one 

^Quoted  from  a  review  in  the  "Times  Literary  Supplement,"  July  4,  1918. 
'  "The  New  Statesman,"  January  15,  1921. 


The  Metre  xxix 

delicate,  unreal  echo  is  struck  out  from  their  jarring;  and  this 
is  the  main  music  of  poetr}'."  Accent  is  not  constant,  nor 
ought  it  to  be  constant,  for  if  perfectly  regular  the  effect  of 
a  long  passage  is  ruined  by  its  monotony. 

Although  such  principles  as  these  may  not  seem  readily 
applicable  to  the  art  of  a  writer  who  usually  manages  to  ruin 
his  long  passages  in  a  wholly  different  and  even  less  creditable 
manner,  they  are  nevertheless  to  be  considered  in  his  case 
precisely  as  in  that  of  any  other  writer  of  verse. 

In  the  introductory  note  to  the  "Troy  Book  "  I  said  that  no 
fault  could  legitimately  be  found  with  the  metre  so  long  as 
Lydgate  paid  due  regard  to  the  swing  of  his  dominant  five 
beats;  and  I  was  no  less  unable  to  agree  then  than  I  am  now 
with  the  opinion  that  because  of  his  so-called  broken-backed 
line,  which  can  be  on  occasion  a  very  fine  line  indeed,  and 
the  blunders  of  copyists  he  should  be  considered  as  inferior 
as  a  metrist  as  he  undoubtedly  was  as  a  poet  and  thinker. 
If  we  are  to  do  justice  to  Lydgate's  metre,  it  is  first  of  all 
necessary  for  us  to  know  what  Lydgate  wrote.  Even  in  the 
oldest  manuscripts  many  lines  occur  in  a  distorted,  mutilated 
form,  and  there  are  invariably  some  lines  which  appear  to 
be  defective  in  all  manuscripts.  It  would  be  no  less  unfair  to 
make  Lydgate  responsible  for  lines  like  these,  than  difficult, 
assuming  that  he  did  write  them,  to  decide  which  of  the  alter- 
native readings  should  be  accepted  as  his.  Another  source  of 
uncertainty  to  the  present-day  editor,  of  which  I  shall  have 
occasion  to  speak  later  on,  is  a  result  of  the  increasing  negli- 
gence of  copyists  during  the  fifteenth  centur^^,  not  only  in 
regard  to  such  small  matters  as  final  ^'s,  to  which  they  gave 
no  attention  whatever,  and  various  prefixes  and  suffixes,  but 
sometimes  extending  to  the  insertion  or  omission  of  articles, 
conjunctions  and  prepositions,  like  the  and  as,  or  for  preceding 
the  to  of  the  infinitive,  and  the  alternative  use  of  synonyms  or 
parallel  word-forms  having  an  unequal  number  of  syllables. 

A  further  cause  of  trouble,  which  should  not  be  forgotten, 
as  it  has  had  more  influence,  perhaps,  than  anything  else  in  giv- 
ing students  false  notions  of  Lydgate's  metre  and  incidentally 
has  shown  how  little  real  knowledge  of  his  style  there  has  been 
up  to  within  comparatively  recent  times,  is  the  attribution  to 
him  of  works  he  did  not  write,  such,  for  example,   as  "The 

XXX  The  Metre 

Assembly  of  Gods,"  and  shorter  poems,  like  the  admirable  but 
metrically  corrupt  "London  Lickpenny."  ^  Nor  has  the 
reissue  of  texts,  which,  like  the  Secreta  Secretorum,  exist  only 
in  a  few  late  manuscripts  and  are  naturally  far  from  correct, 
tended  to  improve  matters. 

Unfortunately  the  question  of  Lydgate's  metre  is  made  very 
complicated  by  difficulties  of  the  language;  for  unless  we  have 
a  fair  idea  of  the  pronunciation  of  his  time  and  class  and  a 
working  know^ledge  of  Chaucer's  metrical  practice,  especially 
his  use  of  the  final  e,  for  the  analysis  of  which  we  are  so 
largely  indebted  to  Bernhard  ten  Brink,  we  cannot  expect  to 
get  very  far.  To  read  Lydgate  as  if  his  language  were  present- 
day  English,  as  I  have  actually  heard  some  people  do,  or  even 
to  try  to  pronounce  his  lines  as  if  they  were  written  in  French 
(which  is  somewhat  closer  to  the  mark),  is  impossible  and 
absurd.  At  the  best  our  attempts  to  reproduce  his  pronun- 
ciation and  that  of  his  contemporaries  amount  to  no  more 
than  a  very  rough  approximation.  We  are  certain  to  do  a 
large  amount  of  misrepresenting  and  to  make  a  good  many 
mistakes;  and  I  have  often  wondered,  were  Lydgate  now 
alive  and  for  once  inclined  to  do  a  little  correcting  on  his  own 
account,  what  he  would  think  of  our  efforts  at  criticism  and 
interpretation  and  of  the  various  opinions  that  have  been  ex- 
pressed at  different  times  by  scholars  in  regard  to  his  metre. 

We  have  in  the  "  Fall  of  Princes  "  numerous  examples  of  all 
the  "types"  or  "forms"  of  the  decasyllabic  line  used  by  Lyd- 
gate except  the  somewhat  doubtful  type  with  a  trisyllabic  first 
measure.  There  are  the  normal  type  of  ten  or  eleven  syllables 
(A),  the  line  with  an  extra  syllable  before  the  caesura  (B), 
lines  with  a  syllable  missing  directly  after  the  caesura  (C), 
with  the  first  syllable  missing  (D),  and  with  both  the  first 
syllable  and  the  syllable  after  the  caesura  missing  (a  combi- 
nation of  C  and  D).  There  are  very  few  examples  of  the 
combination  of  B  and  D  described  in  the  "Troy  Book"  under 
the  heading  5,  for  most  of  these  lines  can  be  read  as  normal; 
and  I  can  find  no  absolutely  certain  examples  of  lines  with  a 

1  See  "  The  Lydgate  Canon  "  by  H.  N.  MacCracken,  Miss  Hammond's 
parallel  text  reprint  in  Anglia,  xx.,  p.  400,  and  the  text  of  the  eight-line  ver- 
sion in  Sir  Frederick  Bridge's  "The  Old  Cryes  of  London,"  Novello  &  Co., 
London, 192 i. 

The  Metre  xxxi 

trisyllabic  first  measure:  it  is  questionable  whether  there  are 
any  such  in  the  "  Fall  of  Princes." 

The  majority  of  the  lines  are  of  the  ordinary  type  A,  with 
ten  or  eleven  syllables: 

I.   2.   The  book  of  Bochas  in  Frensh  to  translate 
I.   3.  Out  of  Latyn,  he  callid  was  Laurence,  etc.,  etc. 

Of  type  B  there  are  also  many  examples: 

I.       29.   AfForn  prouydid  that  no  presumpcioun 
II.   3361.   Alas  I  was  nat  auysid  weel  befom 
II.   3458.   Besouhte  Bachus  sum  remedi  to  shape 
III.    1660.   The  temple  off  lupiter  to  robbe  it  be  rauyne  (syncope 

of  z  in  lupiter) 
III.   3088.   This  litil  tragedie  doth  shortli  heer  deuise   (apocope  of 

U  in  liiU) 
III-   3355-   Wente  into  exil  nat  ferr  fro  that  cuntre 
HI-   3553-   Cam  out  to  meete  hym  upon  a  wol  fair  pleyn 
III.   3612.   A  thyng  most  odious  to  eueri  comounte    (synizesis  of 

JO  in  odious) 
VII.     206.   An  hundrid  fourti  four  thousand  as  I  reede 
IX.   2081.   A  thousand  thre  hundred  acountid  was  the  yeer  (apocope 
o{  ed  in  hundred) 
Other  examples  are:  I.  5306,  II.  1018,  1848,  III.  1946,  2000,  2011,  3014 
3618,  IV.  3127,  3961,  V.  514,  2933,  VI.  2353,  2953,  3347,  VIII.   130,  1022 
1965,  2191,  2291,  IX.  3050,  3067,  3386. 

Type  D  is  of  frequent  occurrence: 

I.  I.  He  that  whilom  dede  his  dilligence 

I.  9.  Artificeres  hauyng  exercise 

I.  II.  Shappis  formys  and  newli  hem  deuyse  (read  "forrms") 

I.  27.  With  ther  colours  agreable  of  hewe 

III.  2235.  Had  also  in  cronycles  as  I  reede  (syncope  of  y  in  crony cUs) 

III.  3617.  How  in  manhod  he  was  pereles 

V.  2857.  To  the  Romeyns  any  wise  tobeye 

Lines  in  which  the  first  syllable  is  missing  and  an  extra 
syllable  added  before  the  caesura  are  comparatively  rare  and 
difficult  to  identify  with  certainty,  for  most  of  them  can  be  read 
very  well  as  normal.     The  following  are  probably  examples: 

II.  557.  Stant  the  weelfare  off  eueri  regeoun 

II.  728.  In  losephus  his  story  ye  may  reede 

II.  933.   Wher  Porcenna  sat  in  his  roial  see 

VI.  3070.   AUe  assentid  &  sworn  to  Catallyne 

In  regard  to  type  C,  the  so-called  broken-backed  line,  it 
can  be  said  with  no  less  certainty  that  it  was  frequently  used 
by  Lydgate  in  the  "Fall  of  Princes" — I  cannot  agree  with  Pro- 
fessor Kaluza's  apparent  rejection  of  it  —  than  that  properly 

xxxii  The  Metre 

read  and  not  lifted  out  of  its  context  it  is  usually,  although 
not  always,  admirable,  and  on  the  whole  quite  as  "good" 
as  any  other  line.  In  many  cases  it  is  a  practical  impossi- 
bility for  us  to  say  whether  we  have  to  deal  with  it  or  with 
the  normal  type  (A),  into  which  it  can  always  be  transformed 
by  the  addition  of  a  syllable  at  the  caesura;  and  although  I 
doubt  that  there  was  ever  any  question  in  Lydgate's  mind  as 
to  what  sort  of  line  he  was  writing  or  how  he  intended  his  lines 
to  be  scanned,  we  are  to-day  greatly  handicapped  by  the  neglect 
of  copyists  in  matters  of  detail  (the  presence  or  absence  of  a 
final  ^  in  a  manuscript  usually  meaning  nothing  at  all)  as  well 
as  by  our  ignorance  of  Lydgate's  pronunciation.  In  saying  that 
the  use  of  the  final  <?  as  a  metrical  syllable  was  wholly  artificial 
in  Lydgate's  time,  for  the  reason  that  it  had  long  disappeared 
from  the  spoken  language,  and  that  consequently  it  is  not 
impossible  that,  for  the  sake  of  the  metre,  Lydgate  sometimes 
added  an  e  to  words  to  which  it  did  not  belong  etymologic- 
ally,^  Professor  Kaluza  was  no  doubt  in  the  main  correct. 
Only  in  the  case  of  Lydgate,  who  although  quite  conscious  of 
his  inferiority  always  had  Chaucer's  metrical  practice  in  mind 
and  apparently  never  varied  his  method,  the  idea  of  time  hardly 
comes  into  consideration.  As  a  metrlst  he  looked  upon  him- 
self as  one  of  his  master's  contemporaries.  Final  /s  had  crept 
in  through  false  analogy  long  before  the  fifteenth  century,  and 
it  cannot  be  assumed  that  Lydgate  knew  very  much  about 
etymology;  nevertheless,  I  believe  that  a  careful  examination  of 
the  metre  will  show  nothing  more  than  an  inclination  on 
Lydgate's  part  to  make  a  somewhat  fuller  use  of  the  final  e 
than  Chaucer  did,  especially  in  the  dative  case,  more  rarely  in 
the  accusative,  and  very  seldom  in  the  nominative,  of  nouns 
of  the  strong  declension  with  consonant  endings.  There  is  no 
evidence  whatever  of  an  indiscriminate  adding  of  silent  /?'s. 

The  following  examples  of  type  C  are  to  my  mind  very  good 
lines.  Properly  read,  with  a  marked  pause  at  the  caesura,  there 
is  no  unpleasant  clashing  together  of  accented  syllables.  One 
could  as  well  say  that  the  syllables  clash  together  unpleasantly 
in  "That  stretches  and  swings  to  the  slow  passionate  pulse  of 
the  sea";  or  "I  know  a  bank  where  the  wild  thyme  blows." 

'  LiUraturblatt  fur  germ.  Phil.,  1899,  pp.  373-375;   1900,  p.  408. 











































The  Metre  xxxiii 

Nor  alle  men     may  nat  been  iliche 

And  fyTiali     as  poetis  telle 

Senacherib     off  Assirie  kyng 

Ther  woful  fall     Guido  dede  endite 

And  heerupon     to  be  certefied 

Foure  thousand  men     Xerses  thedir  sente 

Fledde  in  a  boot     lik  a  coward  knyht 

Bi  gret  auys     weies  he  hath  souht 

This  was  theflfect     pleynli  in  substaunce 

Nor  fader  non     by  his  gret  errour 

On  hors[e]-bak     thoruh  ther  gret  swiftnesse 

Amyd  the  se     ferr  out  fro  the  stronde 

Strong  was  the  fiht     or  that  thei  wer  take 

And  aftir  that     whan  he  cam  to  londe 

Bothe  old  &  yong     with  ful  glad  visages 

Banyshed  ageyn     out  of  his  cite 

Which  sufFred  nat     them  to  lyue  in  pes 

Is  seelde  glad     as  for  his  partie 

Is  onli  this     thei  do  non  excesse 

Tween  man  and  man     or  of  wilful  rage 

Al  desolat     cried  for  almesse 

Other  good  examples  are:  I.  4629,  5469,  5582,  III.  2034,  2836,  IV.  149, 
1629,  1756,  2443,  3052,  3156,  3564,  3634,  3751,  3852,  V.  63,  256,  588,  742, 
813,  iiio,  1923,  2019,  2878,  3085,  VI.  1215,  1220,  1380,  1885,  2261,  6s,  2351, 
2782,  3049,  VII.  315,  1495,  VIII.  817,  1296,  1852,  2052,  2129,  2944,  3312, 
IX.  2020,  24,  2998,  3254. 

In  the  following  lines  both  the  first  syllable  and  a  syllable 
at  the  caesura  are  wanting: 

I.     906.  Than  a  man  for  to  haiie  delit 

I.    1004.  Which  that  God  took  with  Noes  Flood 

rV.     860.  Whereupon  whan  he  caste  his  look 

V.   2063.  Hanybal  gan  his  purpos  holde 

V.   2455.  Set  him  up  in  his  roiall  stall 

VI.     792.  Spartharchus  was  ther  cheef  capteyn 

VI.     914.  Vnto  which  whan  thei  wer  repeired 

VI.    1335.  Aftir  that  for  hir  gret  faimesse 

VI.    1796.  Thei  to  hym  3'old[e]  up  the  toun 

VIII.       53.  Lik  a  man  hangyng  in  ballaunce 

VIII.     515.  Smet  out  oon  of  his  eyen  tweyne 

VIII.   2723.  Orcadois,  Denmark  and  Houlond 

IX.   2303.  Chewed  it  al  on  pecis  smale 

IX.   2857.  Day  be  day  caried  vitaile 

On  the  other  hand,  there  are  many  doubtful  and  difiicult 
examples  of  lines  of  the  above  types.  Some  of  them,  as  Pro- 
fessor Kaluza  and  Dr.  MacCracken  have  stated,  can  be  easily 
mended,  or,  as  I  should  prefer  to  say,  transformed,  into  type 
A  or  D.  It  would  be  most  undesirable  to  amend  Lydgate 
with  a  view  to  smoothing  his  lines  for  the  benefit  of  present- 

xxxiv  The  Metre 

day  readers;  and  whenever  textual  alterations  are  undertaken 
it  should  naturally  be  done  with  the  sole  object  of  restoring, 
so  far  as  we  are  able,  the  text  to  its  original  state.  This  we 
are  often  able  to  do  successfully  on  the  basis  of  the  manuscripts; 
but  when  there  is  no  manuscript  authority  for  a  change,  it  is 
best  to  leave  things  as  they  are  unless  the  suggested  emenda- 
tion is  a  very  simple  and  obvious  one,  as  is  sometimes  the  case; 
for  often  manuscript  authority  may  represent  nothing  more, 
especially  if  in  a  late  text,  than  the  very  questionable  conjecture 
of  a  copyist.  The  presence  or  absence  of  a  final  <f  in  a  manu- 
script, as  I  have  already  said,  usually  means  nothing:  we  are 
glad  enough  to  take  advantage  of  it  when  it  is  there;  but  the 
copyists  apparently  did  not  trouble  themselves  about  it  one 
way  or  the  other,  and  the  readers  in  Lydgate's  day  were  pre- 
sumably able  to  sound  it  for  themselves  where  it  was  needed. 
Lines  like  the  following  can  easily  be  altered  into  the 
regular  type;  and  in  many  such  cases  it  is  quite  possible  that 
Lydgate  did  originally  write  them  in  the  more  expanded  form; 
yet  the  majority  of  these  lines  are  wholly  characteristic  and 
require  no  emendation. 

III.  2336.    But  off  assent  cast  in  your  passage     (casteth) 
III.  2755.   A  myhti  due  callid  Palantus     (y-callid) 

III.  3192.   He  callid  was  god  of  marchaundise      (the  god) 

IV.  2367.  Another  thyng  bookis  specific     (as  bookis) 

IV.  3654.   For  thei  wer  set  Bochas  doth  deuise     (as  Bochas) 
IX.  2998.   And  in  caas  verray  resemblable     (verraily) 

Compare  also  III.  4787,  V.  850,  VI.  1362,  etc. 

Sometimes  it  is  hard  to  say  whether  a  line  ought  to  be  scanned 
as  type  C  or  type  D;  for  here  the  type  depends  entirely  upon 
whether  the  first  syllable  is  emphasized  or  not,  a  matter 
which  the  taste  of  the  modern  reader  must  decide  in  the  ab- 
sence of  all  knowledge  of  the  niceties  of  speech-accent  of  the 
fifteenth  century: 

I.     682.   And  In  ther  trust  for  they  wer  nat  stable 
II.    1616.   The  and  thi  kyn  no  man  may  socoure 
II.    1617.   Flessh  skyn  and  bon  houndis  shal  deuoure 
IV.     529.    He  shal   be  set  of  gold   bornid   briht      (gold  probably 

IV.   3727.  To  his  encres  which  that  myhte  auaille 

V.     519.   And  wher  that  he  in  his  tendre  age 

In  many  other  cases  where  at  first  sight  there  might  appear 

The  Metre  xxxv 

need  for  another  syllable,  there  is  actually  no  need  for  it;  the 
syllable  is  already  there.  And  although  we  certainly  do  not 
know  just  how  Lydgate  read  his  lines  and  pronounced  his 
words,  the  conjecture  at  any  rate  lies  near  at  hand  that  there 
was,  in  addition  to  diaeresis  (as  in  Piroides,  II.  2502;  circuit, 
VII.  654;  deer  [O.  E.  dior],  I.  5125;  boy,  V.  2588;  day(?)  II. 
3396,  V.  2019;  weel,  IV.  1564;  heeld.  III.  213 1;  clees,  VI.  2481; 
dees,  V.  2700;  trees,  I.  540,  II.  2619),  an  occasional  resolution 
of  one  syllable  into  two,  either  by  lengthening  or  by  the  quasi- 
insertion  of  an  extra  vowel-sound,  especially  before  an  r  and  / 
and  n.  This  is  wholly  consistent  with  the  thicker  and  more 
broken  utterance  which,  in  view  of  the  analogous  mode  of 
speech  preserved  to-day,  apparently  independently  of  dialect, 
by  country  people  in  parts  of  England  and  especially  of  Ireland, 
we  may  assume  was  prevalent  in  Lydgate's  time  and  among 
his  class.  Examples  of  such  lengthening  or  vowel-insertion  are: 
Saul  (Sauel),  II.  167,  etc.;  foul  (O.  E.  fugol),  IV.  1742;  tail 
(O.  E.  taegl),  I.  854,  IX.  1467;  soil,  I.  746;  gold,  II.  3452,^ 
etc.  (see  infra);  poynt,  VI.  2440;  reyn  (O.  E.  regn),  I.  713; 
Minotaur,  I.  864;  tour,  I.  1098,  II.  1738;  repeir,  VI.  3201; 
dispeir,  VI.  2433;  hair  (heir),  I.  5140;  boor,  I.  4918;  boord,  IV. 
1332;  fir  (fire),  I.  1417,  II.  21 11  (comp.  feer-brond,  I.  6388). 

The  consonant  combinations  Ik  and  //  seem  to  have  formed 
a  syllable  by  themselves  in  folk  (follek),  I.  148,  III.  148,  4051, 
4425,  IV.  2442,  IX.  1819,  2970  (but  folk,  monosyllable,  I.  806, 
IV.  3630,  V.  12),  calfF,  I.  6380,  halff,  I.  6378,  mylk,  IV.  1131, 
and  on  occasion  in  self  (him,  her-self).  The  letter  r  was  evi- 
dently strongly  rolled,  or  pronounced  with  a  distinct  burr,, 
producing  a  disyllabic  effect  in  such  words  as  world  ^  (fern,  i 
stem),  which,  however,  has  an  organic  silent  e  in  the  dative  and 
accusative,  I.  793,  822,  6179,  6253,  II.  2081,  III.  3165,  IV.  83; 
in  the  strong  masculines  and  neuters,  hors,  III.  1842,  52,  2556, 
2979;*  arm,  II.  952,  1521;  clerk,  IV.  2663,  IX.  113;  werk,  I. 
1 1 25,  29,  39;  turn,  IV.  2863,  VI.  584;  in  the  French  words 
cours.  III.  2802;  court,  II.  2251,  III.  4785,  VIII.  2945,  76,  IX. 
2103;  and  sort,  I.  2725;  and  in  first,  erst,  -fom  and  thoruh. 

In   k3aig,  the  g  may  have   been   pronounced   separately  as 

*  Comp.  VI.  201,  2515,  2893  wor-eldli. 

*  In  VI.  1369,  "Vpon  an  hors  wildere  than  a  leoun,"  the  a  is  omitted  in 
MSS.  B  and  H,  showing  that  the  copyist  probably  said  '*hor-€s,"  if  he 
pronounced  the  word  at  all. 

xxxvi  The  Metre 

a  guttural  following  the  n  (see  ten  Brink,  §120,  ff),  thereby 
producing  an  additional  syllable  that  could  be  sounded  or 
slurred  at  will.  It  is  not  at  all  probable  that  Lydgate  added 
an  e ;  yet  the  word  is  used  in  so  many  lines  where  two  sylla- 
bles are  unquestionably  required  that  it  is  difficult  to  believe 
that  it  was  not  indeed  disyllabic: 

II.  1625.   Off  this  warnyng  the  kyng  took  non  heed 

II.  2937.   The  woful  fal  off  kyng  Amazie 

IV.  1800.   And  whan  kyng  Alisaundre  hadde 

IV.  2390.   And  of  the  kyng  of  Epirothes 

VI.  1345.   Which  weddid  was  to  kyng  Tholome 

VI.  1681.    So  that  the  kyng  Mitridate  alas 

VIII.  3257.   Of  Gepidois  how  kyng  Trusimounde 

IX.  903.   This  kyng  caste  the  damages  to  redresse   (apocope  of 

the  s  in  damages) 

IX.  2792.   With  kyng  lohn  this  Gaulteer  lik  a  kniht 

Other  examples  are:  I.  5227,  5986,  II.  1516,  24,  78,  2122,  2248, 
2714,  3207,  III.  2319,  74  2650,  2714,  IV.  1552,  1863,  2340, 
V.  2968,  VI.  1025,  IX.  708,  924,  1287.  Yet  several  of  these 
are  doubtful;  we  do  not  know  but  that  Lydgate  may  have 
had  the  "broken-backed"  line  in  his  mind  more  often  than  is 
perhaps  apparent  to  us  now,  and  the  following  lines  can  be 
read  very  well  with  kyng  as  a  monosyllable:  II.  1665,  4107, 
III.  869,  4808,  IV.  1461,  1944,  2981,  V.  2409,  IX.  865,  2956. 
On  the  other  hand,  kyng  is  certainly  a  monosyllable  in  lines 
III.  1705,  08,  39,  43,  2662,  IV.  1315,  17,  78,  VI.  1352,  VIII. 
2364,  IX.  1285;  and  when  it  occurs  at  the  end  of  a  line  it 
rhymes  with  the  present  participle  (III.  1724,  4104,  V.  2438, 
3028,  etc.). 

To  deth,  str.  masc,  an  e  was  probably  added  in  the  dative 
on  occasion  (pronounced  dede.?);  and  examples  of  its  dative  use 
are  comparatively  numerous:  I.  761,  5739,  II.  2325,  III.  2752, 
4733,  54,  IV.  722,  1083,  2062,  2133,  58,  3060,  3976,  V.  2124, 
2251,  VI.  1 163,  2550,  3618,  VII.  56,  VIII.  1044,  1434,  64,  1864, 
2587,  IX.  254.  Of  these  lines,  IV.  1083,  "  For  of  his  deth  no 
man  list  compleyne,"  and  VIII.  1044,  "Of  whos  deth  Lycynyus 
was  glad,"  can  be  read  as  type  D;  and  IV.  2062,  "  That  for  his 
deth  tempted  the  poisoun,"  is  a  fine  example  of  type  C  as  it 
stands.  Lines  VI.  2087,  2504,  and  VIII.  1457  are  of  the  normal 
type,  requiring  no  e  in  the  dative.  The  word  occurs  but  seldom 
in  the  accusative  case;  but  in  lines  IV.  1957,  "Tauenge  my 

The  Metre  xxxvii 

deth  wrouht  bi  gret  outrage,"  IX.  151 5,  *' Tauenge  the  deth[e] 
of  Andronicus,"  and  IX.  2031,  "His  lyfF  his  deth[e]  put  in 
iupartie,"  it  may  be  considered  to  require  two  syllables. 

In  regard  to  feeld,  str.  masc,  the  indication  is  that  it  either 
took  an  <r,  when  required,  in  both  the  dative  and  accusative,  or 
was  lengthened  into  fe-eld.  There  are  many  examples  of  its 
use:  II.  23CX),  09,  2648,  4358,  III.  2103,  4914,  IV.  222,  3652, 
85,  V.  324,  31,  2036,  VI.  1871. 

Wheel,  str.  neuter,  was  certainly  disyllabic  (Middle  English 
spellings:  hweol,  wheol,  hue3el,  etc.);  compare  nominative  case, 
"Troy  Book,"  II.  8561,  and  accusative,  "Fall  of  Princes," 
V.  1 145.  An  e  may  have  been  added  to  the  dative,  I.  2170, 
V.  2293,  VI.  308,  and  in  the  "Troy  Book,"  II.  2021;  but  I  am 
inclined  to  doubt  it,  although  in  my  indecision  I  added  one 
in  VI.  308.  In  lines  VI.  703,  11,  2538  (dative),  and  IV.  2858 
(accusative)  it  is  all  right  as  it  stands. 

Although  lord  is  one  of  the  masculines  of  the  strong  declen- 
sion that  sometimes  takes  an  e  in  the  dative  in  Chaucer  (ten 
Brink,  §201),  it  is  probable  that  it  was  also  pronounced  disyl- 
labically  lau-erd.  It  usually  occurs  in  the  accusative  and 

I.  814.   Was  bi  the  Lord  as  hym  list  ordeyne 

I.  2790.   Made  hir  lord  at  hir  to  disdeyne 

II.  1006.   Also  my  lord  bad  I  sholde  abide 

II.  1936.   Hadde  slayn  hir  lord  for  his  gret  richesse 

II.  3426.   Whan  that  his  lord  was  be  tresoun  slayn 

II.  4542.   And  to  that  Lord  bowwe  doun  thi  chyne 

III.  1984.   Ful  lik  a  lord  and  a  knyhtli  man 

VI.  1641.   W'as  to  his  lord[e]  fals  &  eek  vnkynde 

VIII,  1879.   Of  his  lord[e]  be  ful  cruel  hate 

Compare  also  I.  6619,  II.  196,  VII.  1203,  VIII.  881,  1674.  In 
line  II.  1930,  lord  is  evidently  monosyllabic;  in  IV.  1326, 
"Ageyn  his  lord  bi  an  horrible  crj^me,"  the  pronunciation  of 
lord  depends  upon  whether  "bi  an  horrible"  is  elided  or  not: 
if  we  read  "banorrible,"  lord  is  disyllabic. 

In  kniht,  the  k  and  the  n  were  probably  sounded  separately, 
and  the  word  was  disyllabic  (IV.  1924,  VIII.  2845,  3231,  IX. 
642).  Hed,  str.  neuter,  was  more  likely  pronounced  heved 
than  hed[e]  when  two  syllables  are  needed;  and  although  I 
have  added  an  ^  in  a  few  instances,  it  is  rather  to  indicate  that 
the  word  is  disyllabic  than  to  imply  that  Lj-dgate  thought  of 

xxxviii  The  Metre 

it  otherwise  than  as  heved.  It  occurs  as  a  rule  in  the  nomi- 
native and  accusative: 

II.  3626.  The  speris  hed  rooff  hym  thoruh  the  herte 

III.  1762.  Gropyng  his  hed[e]  as  he  lai  slepyng 

IV.  3892.  His  hed  smet  ofF  in  the  same  place 
VI.  1159.  Lost  his  hed[e]  &  his  lyfF  in  deede 
VI.  2453.  Took  up  the  hed[e]  of  that  prince  alas 

The  str.  neuters  gold  and  child  were  also  in  all  probability 
disyllabic,  go-eld  and  chi-eld: 

II.  3452.   He  thouhte  gold  myhte  hym  most  auaile 

II.  3474.   Though  he  of  gold  hadde  so  gret  plente 

II.  3790.    Riche  of  gold  perle  and  precious  stonys 
IV.     529.    He  shal  be  set  of  gold  bornid  briht 

IV.  889.   Of  most  fj'n  gold  shon  so  cleer  &  briht 

VIII.  1269.   Al  of  gold  fret  with  perles  fyne 

IV.  3684,  "Armed  al  in  gold  and  with  gret  violence,"  is  of 

type  A,   with  gold   a  monosyllable.     I   prefer  to  read  VIII. 

3160,  "Al  is  nat  gold  that  is  cleer  shynyng,"  as  type  A  rather 

than  type  D.     In  IV.  506,  "  Bies  of  gold  crownes  of  laureer," 

we  have  the  alternative  choice  of   a  disyllabic  "gold"  or  a 

trisyllabic   "  c[o]rownes."     There   are  numerous  examples  of 

child,  which  may  have  sometimes  taken  an  e  in  the  dative;   we 

meet  with  it,  however,  most  frequently  in  the  nominative  and 

accusative  cases: 

She  and  hir  child  fill  into  the  se 
Hath  maad  this  child  now  so  fortunat 
Is  first  a  child  which  may  nat  suffise 
Bad  that  the  child  sholde  anon  be  take 
Whethir  the  child  sholde  lyue  or  deye 
Kepte  this  child  in  ful  secre  wise 
To  keepe  the  child  was  nat  rekeles 
How  that  this  child  greene  &  tendre  off  age 
The  yonge  child  took  in  ther  depos 
Because  this  child  tendre  yong  &  fair 
Sold  hym  a  child  which  was  born  in  Ynde 

And  on  the  child  which  that  stood  beside 
But  off  this  child  whan  the  deth  was  kouth 
Was  with  hir  child[e]?  seruid  that  was  slayn 

In  other  cases  the  word  is  to  be  read  as  a  monosyllable  in  lines 
of  types  A  and  D  (I.  3192,  99,  3213,  19,  27,  31,  45,  II.  1624, 

Blood,  birth,  land,  and  swerd  (which  may  have  been  other- 
wise disyllabic,  swe-erd,  O.  E.  sweord)  occasionally  take  an  e 






























The  Metre  xxxix 

in  the  dative;  good  (possessions)  apparently  requires  an  e 
in  the  accusative,  III.  3853.  To  the  str.  masc.  gilt  an  e  was 
probably  added,  I.  6925,  but  not  elsewhere  (III.  2034,  IV. 
427,  3751);  hill  also  seems  to  have  required  an  e  in  the 
dative  (II.  4122,  III.  2973,  V.  2601,  VI.  1612,  VII.  1054). 
Wal,  I.  2479,  II.  3510,  certainly  was  pronounced  wal[le]  in 
the  dative  and  accusative,  VI.  1108  and  IV.  339.     To  knyfF, 

II.  1305,  84,  III.  1 147;  doom,  V.  875,  VI.  2926;  crafft,  I.  6523, 
41;  drem  (perhaps  disyllabic,  O.  E.*  dream),  II.  3222,  3585, 

III.  1666,  apparantly  no  e  was  added.  The  consonant-stem 
noun  book,  however,  seems  to  have  been  sometimes  disyllabic 
through  the  addition  of  an  inorganic  e  to  the  dative,  I.  4076, 
V.  366,  804,  VI.  2871,  IX.  177,  3070  (ace,  I.  258,  423,  VI.  224), 
although  some  of  these  lines  can  be  read  as  type  D. 

The  French  words  estat,  III.  534,  VI.  2865,  VIII.  2786; 
chaung,  I.  2064;  assent.  III.  2336,  IV.  3787,  V.  2000,  IX. 
1349,  3232;  feith,  IX.  1223,  28;  and  accord,  I.  3706,  II.  4117, 
IX.  2218,  also  seem  to  have  required  an  e  in  some  instances. 

So  far  we  have  been  dealing  with  lines  that  require  more 
syllables  than  they  apparently  possess;  but  there  are  many 
other  lines  that  at  first  sight  might  be  considered  to  have  too 
many  syllables.  It  is  therefore  necessary  to  examine  shortly 
Lydgate's  usage  in  slurring  over  and  eliding  syllables  and 
otherwise  contracting  his  words. 

There  is  very  frequent  use  of  elision  and  apocope.  Of  the 
former  the  following  are  characteristic  examples: 

Lat  us  (Lat's),  I.  938;  it  wer  ('twer),  II.  3648;  Fortune  is 
(Fortune's),  IX.  3526;  There  is  (there's),  I.  2581,4611,  II.  3639, 
III.  3932;    He  enfectith,  I.  4624;    He  abod.  III.  816;    He  is, 

I.  6986,  III.  1365;  Heere  is,  I.  2596;  She  is,  I.  6185;  Wil  is, 
III.  3980;  and  in  (=nin),  VI.  2825;  bi  his,  VI.  2633;  beAmilius, 

II.  3992;  Bi  Eneas,  II.  987;  be  interpretacioun,  VIII.  1940; 
be  influent,  IX.  3222;  be  exacciouns,  VIII.  2638;  be  occa- 
sioun,  IX.  350;  Be  Honorius,  VIII.  2281;  Bamaner,  VI. 
944;    bagredi,   VI.    1005;     birfadres,   IV.    3324;     bextorsioun, 

III.  3231,  this  (=  that  is)  II.  4040;  so  infortunat,  I.  3470; 
so  onable.  III.  49;  elision  of  the  e  in  the  before  vowels  and 
h,  I.  1370,  2388,  5848,  III.  2352,  V.  373,  VI.  2303,  04,  3428, 
VII.  1 1 20,  1400,  VIII.  3261;  of  the  o\nto,\.  5719,  II.  684,  2289, 

xl  The  Metre 

IV.  3996,  VI.  3267,  VIII.  2056,  2205,  2394,  IX.  2030;  glorye 
and,  I.  1 1 18,  II.  1073,  2108,  III.  3343;  miserie  and,  I.  968; 
sclaundre  and,  III.  3017;   childre  and.  III.  2007;   wynter  and, 

III.  2204;  fadir  and,  I.  900;  childre  in,  VIII.  2363;  fadir  in, 
I.  194;  rekne  in,  VI  1745;  other  in,  I.  2860;  lettir  in,  I.  6344; 
rancour  in,  II.  785;  thastlabre  in,  I.  295;  peeple  in,  I.  996; 
Brothir  of,  VII.  1044;  double  of,  VIII.  3152;  double  Apostata 
VIII.  1483;  title  of,  VI.  3647;  slauhtre  of,  VIII.  223;  temple 
off.  III.  3315;  sobre  of,  I.  6208;  enlumyned  ofF,  III.  666; 
chartre  is,  V.  1873;  mekil  is.  III.  555;  writen  is,  V.  1476; 
lauhtre  on,  I.  1528;  Phebus  on,  VI.  2472;  Capue  he,  V.  2049; 
leuer  he.  III.  3918;  togidre  he,  III.  4568;  peeple  he,  II.  215; 
ordre  as,  VIII.  2598;  sugre  eek,  I.  4001;  title  had,  VI.  732; 
Vttre  hem,  VI.  298;  merci  or,  II.  1699;  gredi  excesse,  VI. 
1425;  foure  dementis,  VI.  3398;  walkyn  appeere,  V.  1000; 
peeple  onhappi,  I.  3864;  furie  unrestreynable.  III.  4027. 

Apocope  is  quite  frequent  of  the  endings  el  or  le,  er  {ir,  re), 
w,  we,  uh,  in  narw,  naruh,  sorwe,  etc.,  ed  in  hundred  and  the 
past  participle,  ^  and  of  the  es,  is  in  plurals,  especially  of 
French  words.    Examples  are:  bridle.  III.  4608;  litil,  III.  3088, 

IV.  2345,  VIII.  421;  stable.  III.  1878;  nouther,  IV.  1035; 
sobre,  I.  3449;  remembre,  I.  3102;  fostre,  I.  3255;  hunger,  VII. 
1353;  mooder,  I.  4811,  6185,  III.  3980,  IV.  151,  V.  2940; 
moordre,  VIII.  3372;  whethir,  I.  4653,  4658,  59,  61;  somer, 
III.  2204,  mydsomer,  I.  3998;  holuh,  V.  2105;  sorwe,  I.  3532; 
a-morwe.  III.  1524,  3825;  naruh.  III.  208;  folwe.  III.  1488; 
hundred,  VIII.  2296,  IX.  2081;  fadid,  VIII.  194;  weddid,  IV. 
3968;  disclaundrid,  IX.  2445;  delyuered.  III.  3314;  corages, 
I.  999,  2931,  (rhymes  "corages:  language:  visage,"  I.  5154); 
offices,  I.  614;  deluges,   I.   1081;  pillages,   I.   6139,   IV.   836, 

VIII.  2638;  pryncessis,  I.  1829,  3125,  II.  4230,  trespacis,  I. 
291 1,  II.  4582,  V.  3109;  sciences,  I.  4246;  facis,  VIII.  3142; 
ymages,  II.  834,  4497,  V.  1440;  damages,  III.  2483,  IV.  639, 

IX.  3023;  euidencis,  I.  3105;  toknes,  IX.  117;  prouynces,  III. 
4867,  VII.  1564,  VIII.  698;  richessis.  III.  4240,  45,  4932,  IV. 
3924,  VIII.  2596  (rhymes  with  apocopated  "  falsnessis,  wit- 
nessis,"  V.  1661);  goddessis,  VII.  837,  IX.  277,  (rhymes  with 
apocopated  "  witnessis,  brihtnessis,"  IX.  282,  with  "  heuynes- 
sis,"  IX.  293);  liknessis,  IV.  17;  paleisis,  VI.  1296. 

*  See  V.  3021,  where  "exercised  "  rhymes  with  "deuise"  and  "guise." 

The  Metre  xli 

SjTicope  also  is  frequent  and  often  indicated  by  contrac- 
tions. It  occurs  in  the  third  and  second  person  singular  end- 
ings of  many  verbs,  in  the  participle,  in  the  plural  of  nouns 
ending  in  es  (is),  and  otherwise  in  a  very  large  number  of 
words.  Examples  are:  appallith,  III.  1629;  causeth,  III.  4046; 
gynneth.  III.  4547;  komth.  III.  1036;  lakketh,  III.  2275; 
makith,  I.  1015,  makth  III.  70,  maketh.  III.  1628,  3235, 
4209,  VI.  1282;  taketh,  III.  533,  1235,  1625;  tarageth,  IV. 
2930;  yeueth.  III.  397;  holdeth,  II.  531;  preueth,  III.  4035; 
declareth,  II.  3462;  bryngith,  I.  1414;  reuersith,  III.  1462; 
settest,  VI.  495;  recurid.  III.  1400;  astonid,  IV.  939;  co- 
maunded,  IV.  427;   namyd,  I.  574;  lokkid,  VIII.  42. 

In  the  plural  of  nouns:  goddis,  II.  4256,  III.  3564,  IV. 
3708,  23,37  ;  innocentis,  II.  4421;  personys,  III.  3607;  mys- 
cheuys,  VIII.  2626. 

Other  examples  are:  adamaunt,  IV.  66;  aduertjseth,  I.  806; 
aduersite,  VI.  1262,  1687,  VIII.  3259,  IX.  1845;  antiquite, 
IX.  916;  appetit,  VI.  13 19,  appetites,  VIII.  2404;  auctorite, 
VI.  2242,  VIII.  971,  2054,  2216,  IX.  2171,  99,  2645;  auisili, 
VI.  3356;  bestialite,  IV.  2687;  cardynales,  IX.  1087,  cardynal, 
IX.  21CXD  (but  cardinales,  IX.  1077);  cathedral,  VIII.  2035; 
chapitle,  I.  4499,  VI.  1282;  charite,  VII.  1172,  IX.  2400;  cher- 
isshe,  I.  997,  3840,  II.  3146,  IV.  1372,  VIII.  2366,  cherysshyng, 

II.  1096  (but  cherisshid,  III.  4794);  chronycle,  I.  2607;  cit- 
eseyns,  IV.  3916;  confederat,  VIII.  2256;  consuleris,  V.  1956; 
contemplatyfF,  IX.  3413;  corupt.  III.  967  (but  c6rupt,  VIII. 
990);  countirfet,  VII.  1207;   countirpeis,  VI.  2893;   couenable, 

III.  4006,  VI.  618;  delicat,  VI.  1424;  dilligentli,  VII.  1324; 
disconfited,  I.  5291,  III.  2520,  VI.  2132,  VIII.  1055,  251 1; 
disseueraunce.   III.    2814;    disherited,   I.   2563;    dissymulyng, 

IV.  1306;  enheritour,'fX.  1252;  enlumjned.  III.  666;  emperour, 
VIII.  754,  1041,  emperours,  II.  4467,  VII.  1264;  felicite,  I. 
1834,  III.  1 1 53,  infelicite,  I.  3168;  fauourable  (slurred),  IV. 
990;  felashipe,  VII.  8;  flaterers,  III.  3164,  IX.  2712;  florys- 
shynges,  IX.  3446;  gentilesse,  IV.  2702;  gouemaunce,  V.  1770; 
gouemour,  V.  1758,  IX.  49;  humylyte,  IX.  2393;  imagynatyff, 
VIII.  521;  importable,  VIII.  1579;  impossible,  I.  3835,  VI. 
1717;  indigent,  III.  4324;  infirmytes,  VII.  1256,  IX.  1087; 
infortunat,  IV.  3987;  innocent,  IX.  1493;  ipocras,  VII.  1282; 
laboreer,  VII.    1198,   liberalite,   IV.  3994,  libertes,  IX.  2608; 

xlii  The  Metre 

mageste,  IV.  3127;  magnificence,  IX.  3602;  malencolie,  III. 
4026;  malencolik,  VI.  3442;  martirloge,  IX.  42;  mellodie,  VI. 
344;  merciful,  VIII.  1204;  meryly,  I,  4795;  modefie,  IX.  2615; 
mutabilite,  V.  1823,  VI.  399;  myneral,  VII.  1216;  myracle, 
VIII.  1503,  1623;  naked,  VII.  1062;  necessite,  I.  4981,  VII. 
548;    norice,  III.  4278;  notable,  I.   1460,  VI.  513,  891,  3630, 

VII.  84;  ocupied,  VIII.  299;  onchaungable,  I.  1207;  ordenaunce, 

VIII.  933;  origynal,  IV.  1137;  perisshed,  IV.  22;  pestilence, 
VII.  1353;  philosophie,  IV.  1139,  VI.  345;  philisophre,  VI. 
1303,  3120,  VII.  1223;  politik,  VI.  347;  polyshing,  III.  1040; 
possible,  VI.  3199;  predecessours,  I.  3910;  prerogatifF,  VI. 
3377;  prerogatyues,  VI.  3080;  promyses.  III.  4252;  prosperite, 

I.  124,  IV.  1052,  68,  VIII.  2550,  2671;  punysshe,  II.  1241, 
1327,  4380,  III.  1457  (but  punyshe,  III.  304,  1129,  1684, 
etc.);  rethorik,  VIII.  193;  reuerence,  II.  1966,  IX.  2101;  re- 
uolucioun,  VI.  189;  salari,  II.  3167;  senatours,  VI.  3104,  3226, 
VII.  543,  VIII.  2539  (but  senatours  VIII.  223);  sensualite,  V. 
1503,  VI.  3381,  VIII.  2350;  seuen.  III.  2530,  2651,  2702,  37, 
4550,  IV.  113;  skarmysshes,  IV.  292;  souereyne,  V.  1172; 
subtilite,  V.  1609;  syngulerte,  III.  1280,  2258;  synguler,  I. 
409,  II.  4305,  III.  2136,  IV.  133,  VI.  2209,  3004,  3140  (but 
synguler,  IV.  3623);  tragedie,  I.  5519,  44;  trynyte,  IX.  2404; 
venymous,  III.  4595;    werreyours,  VII.  1036. 

Synizesis,  the  combination  into  one  syllable  of  two  vowels 
that  can  not  make  a  diphthong,  is  frequent  and  often  accom- 
panied by  slurring.  Mariage  is  as  a  rule  of  two  syllables 
=  marage  (I.  1988,  3483,  3752,  II.  2121,  III.  4112,  16,  IV. 
184,  3973>  VIII.  3273,  IX.  257,  63,  73,  83,  88,  etc.);  but  we 
also  have  mariage  in  three  syllables  (I.  3500,  5462).  Other 
examples  are:  cariage,  V.  193 1;    alliaunce,  V.  2450  (alliaunce, 

IX.  259);  daliaunce,  VI.  214,  3467;  embassiat,  V.  1545; 
meriere,  I.  5813;  permiable,  VI.  2168;  rhetoricien,  VI.  3454; 
superfluite,  VI.  2689,  3332,  VII.  1307;  tarieng,  VI.  2737; 
variaunce,  VI.  2893,  3399;  vertuous.  III.  4383,  VIII.  127,  IX. 
1 153,  2027,  3046  (but  vertuous,  VII.  399,  IX.  2034). 

There  is  synizesis  of  the  i  and  0  in  the  following  adjectives: 
compendious,  VI.  3630;  contrarious,  IX.  529;  furious,  1. 
2388;  gracious,  IX.  3349;  ungracious,  VIII.   3273;  victorious, 

II.  204,  VI.  1209,  IX.  2417. 

The  same  applies  to  many  nouns  ending  in  ioun:  accusacioun, 

The  Metre  xliii 

V.  1658;  aflFeccioun,  III.  821;  champiouns,  IX.  2426;  collu- 
sioun,  II.  4240,  III.  1713;  compassioun,  III.  4812,  VI.  276, 
2996;  composicioun,  II.  766;  condicioun,  VI.  281;  confec- 
ciouns,  III.  2574,  IX.  2907;  coniuracioun,  VI.  3052;  conspir- 
acioun,  VII.  447,  VIII.  3127;  constellacioun,  III.  3628; 
contencioun,  IV.  436;  desolacioun,  VI.  362;  deuocioun,  IX. 
2140;    digressioun,  III.  3228,  V.   1776,  VI.   2000  (but  not  in 

VI.  3330);  dilacioun,  I.  7053;  discencioun,  IV.  677;  discre- 
cioun,  I.  503,  III.  4627,  IV.  2329,  4032,  V.  1783;  divisioun, 
III.  5122,  VI.  2310,  2535  (but  not  so  in  lines  I.  4611,  VI.  358, 
3329,  and  perhaps  in  IX.  511);  dominacioun,  VIII.  229,  IX. 
1507;  ellocucioun,  VI.  3334;  entencioun,  IV.  1365;  execu- 
cioun,  IX.  2982;  extorsioun,  III.  3231;  exacciouns,  IX.  2615; 
facioun,  I.  5051;  fundacioun,  IX.  2427;  generaciouns,  VI. 
3400;  intrusioun,  VIII.  2316;  lamentaciouns,  VI.  2384;  men- 
cioun,  III.  4941,  VIII.  1 174;  obligacioun,  IV.  1978;  occa- 
siouns,  I.  4736,  in  sing.,  IV.  1013;  oppressioun,  VIII.  1306; 
perfeccioun,  IX.  798;  pocessioun,  VIII.  2891;  presumpcioun, 
IX.  939  (but  four  syllables,  VI.  3628);  professioun,  VIII.  1480, 
2250;  pronunciacioun,  VI.  3140,  3340;  refecciouns,  VII.  904; 
religioun,  IX.  2129;  reuolucioun,  VI.  189;  subieccioun,  V. 
582;  successioun,  I.  4273,  III.  2964;  supplantacioun,  IX. 
3039;    suspeccioun,  III.  2728. 

Synizesis  also  occurs  in  proper  nouns,  such  as  Albioun, 
VI.  2882;    Amphioun,  VI.  3491;    Scipioun,  V.  1249,  etc. 

Hiatus  is  comparatively  rare,  but  nevertheless  there  are  a 
number  of  cases  where  the  final  e  is  evidently  sounded  before 
a  succeeding  vowel,  as  in  VI.  2461,  "  Bi  fals  rauyne  and  extor- 
sioun ";  VII.  268,  "  The  firste  also  who  list  take  heede;  "  VII. 
380,  "And  saide  also  mor  for  assuraunce;"  VIII.  2395, 
"  Brothir  to  force  auctours  seyn  echon  ";  IX.  1044,  "  In  suich 
disioynt  the  sayd[e]  Arnold  stood."  There  are  other  ex- 
amples in  which  the  words  **  boost  "  and  "  steel  "  with  dative 
ending  are  followed  by  the  word  "armed." 

In  proper  nouns  the  accent  is  often  shifted  from  one  syl- 
lable to  another;  sometimes  a  name  is  shortened  by  apocope, 
or,  as  we  have  seen  above,  by  synizesis.  Thus,  Ypolitus  reads 
Ypolitus,  I.  4488;  Roboam,  II.  772,  Roboam,  II.  792;  lerusa- 
lem,  II.  755,  1825,  2656,  83,  but  lerusalem,  II.  707,  1491, 
2891,   VII.   1458,   IX.  1859,   1917,  57;   Abithomarus,  V.  957, 

xliv  The  Metre 

Abithomarus,  V.  981,  Abithomarus,  V.  946;  Lacedemoyn  and 
Lacedemoyn,  III.  3362,  77,  3439,  64,  etc.;  Pelopia,  I.  4151; 
Odoacer,  VIII.  2510,  Odoacer,  VIII.  2501;  Anthjochus,  V. 
1523,  48,  2781,  Anthiochus,  V.  1590,  etc.;  Nabugodonosor,  II. 
3531;  Artabanus,  III.  2669,  Artabanus,  III.  2647,  92;  Fana- 
ticus,  VI.  662;  Tantalus,  III.  3730;  Diogenes,  III.  4392; 
Macedoyne,  V.  282;  Laodices,  V.  1473;  Aristobolus,  VI.  2742, 
52;  Constantynople,  VIII.  2222;  Alcibiades  and  Alcibiades, 
III.  3375,  etc.;  Tholome  and  Tholome,  VI.  2627,  48,  52; 
Artaxerxes,  III.  5022,  but  usually  Artaxerxes;  lubiter  and 
lubiter,  III.  1660,  VI.  3206,  VII.  385,  551,  VIII.  looi,  1004; 
Radagasus  and  Radagasus,  VIII.  2143,  60,  62;  Cesarea,  VIII. 
1733,  Cesarea,  VIII.  1747;  Phebus,  VI.  2472;  Alisaundre,  IV. 
1428,  etc.;  Cleopatra,  VI.  2648,  Cleopatra,  VI,  2643;  Calligula, 
VII.  411,  86,  Calligula,  VII.  323;  Antigonus,  IV.  2264,  Anti- 
gonus,  IV.  2282;  Galerius,  VIII.  980,  Galerius,  VIII.  981. 

It  is  exceedingly  doubtful  whether  there  are  any  lines  with 
a  trisyllabic  first  measure  in  the  "  Fall  of  Princes."  Personally 
I  am  inclined  to  believe  that  there  are  none.  Lines  having 
the  word  "seven"  in  the  second  measure  will  hardly  do,  for 
seven,  with  the  second  e  syncopated,  was  a  monosyllable  (I. 
4255,  IV.  1 166,  1232).  "Philisophre"  was  disyllabic  through 
syncope  of  the  second  i,  which  puts  IV.  1303  and  VI.  3120 
out  of  court  (comp.  also  VII.  1223  and  philosophic  in  IV. 
1 139  and  VI.  345).  In  VIII.  1005,  "In  the  capitoile  set  sothli 
as  he  saide,"  the  first  i  in  "capitoile"  is  syncopated;  the  line 
is  regular.  In  the  line,  I.  4169,  "Off  the  noble  worthi  kyng 
Agamenoun,"  "noble"  loses  its  second  syllable  through 
apocope.  The  first  i  in  "countirpeis,"  VI.  2893,  is  syncopated 
and  the  r  slurred  (comp.  countirfet,  VII.  1207);  and  in  the 
only  remaining  questionable  line  of  this  sort  that  I  have  noted, 
VI.  3104,  "In  the  Romeyn  court  afFor  the  senatours,"  there 
is  syncope  of  the  e  in  "senatours"  (for  further  references  see 
senatour  in  list  of  words  illustrating  syncope). 

There  are  several  irregular  lines,  but  whether  the  irregu- 
larity is  due  to  the  author  or  to  the  copyists  is  often  impossible 
to  say.  Line  3480,  Book  III.,  "This  was  the  mene  that  he 
mente,"  has  only  four  beats  as  it  stands,  and  may  have  been, 
but  was  probably  not,  so  written  by  Lydgate.  "Natwith- 
stonding  mor  boldli  that    tyme    atte   leste "    (VII.    962)    has 

The  Metre  xlv 

evidently  been  garbled;  VI.  991,  "Sone  of  a  carpenteer  the 
stori  tellith  thus,"  has  a  beat  too  many  unless  the  er  in 
"carpenteer"  is  syncopated;  and  VII.  356,  "With  certeyn 
dr>'nkis  to  cast  hym  in  a  rerage"  (rhyming  with  age),  appar- 
ently has  one  syllable  too  many  as  it  appears  in  the  MSS. 
There  are  many  lines  in  which  the  accent  is  thrown  on  the 
definite  article;  but  whether  the  practice  was  considered  ob- 
jectionable I  cannot  say.  It  is  at  any  rate  very  easy  to  read 
such  lines  by  slurring  over  the  arsis,  a  practice  not  unknown 
in  the  poetry  of  the  present  day.    The  following  are  examples: 

I.  2172.  To  considre  the  successiouns 

I.  5663.   Sterte  into  the  welle  and  hymseluen  dre>-nt 

II.  2924.   Off  mortal  man  the  condicioun 

III.  161 1.   It  is  in  erthe  oon  the  moste  pereilous  thj-ng 

IV.  513.  The  straunge  salaire  and  the  famous  guerdoun 
rV.   2846.   And  eclipsed  the  liht  of  his  glorie 

VI.        94.   Othir  vndir  the  pool  Antartik 
VI.   2307.   Gan  among  Romeyns  and  the  contagious  fiht 
VIII.      179.   That  laboure  may  of  slouthe  haue  the  victorie 

In  the  following  lines  the  accent  falls  on  the  indefinite  article : 

I.     959.   Suffred  on  a  crosse  deth  and  passioun 
I.   2332.  The  fir  brast  out  a  ful  large  space 
VI.   3 187.    In  a  desert  and  a  gret  wildimesse 

Finally,  in  some  cases  it  is  preferable  to  read  a  word  in  a 
shorter,  but  alternative,  form  to  that  which  occurs  in  the 
text.  Thus,  Lydgate  probably  wrote  "vauntage"  rather  than 
"auauntage"  in  III.  499,  "It  were  to  me  no  worshepe  nor 
auauntage";  and  in  several  lines,  "geyn"  is  preferable  to 
"ageyn."  In  VI.  2307  above,  Lydgate  may  have  written 
"mong."  The  copyists  did  not  seem  to  care  which  form  they 

I  have  made  the  following  emendations  to  the  text  without 
manuscript  authority;  but  all  except  one  (VI.  2459)  are  obvious 
and  simple  corrections  of  copyists'   blunders  and  omissions: 

II.     423.  Natwithstanding  [that]  the  PalestjTies 
II.    1732.   Till  al  his  blood  be  bledyng  dede  raile  *    (The  MSS. 
and  prints  have  "fayle"  instead  of  "raile"  a  blun- 
der evidently  of  an   early   copyist.) 

III.  2906.   Thei  heeld  hemsilff[e]  verrai^ly]   ashamed     (The  MSS. 

and  prints  have  "verrai.") 

IV.  1627.   And  [he]  hadde  toward  thoxidcnt 

xlvi  The  Metre 

IV.    1972.   Hir  *  fatal  wheel  most  dyuers  &  chaungable  (The  MSS. 
have   "Ther"   instead   of  "Hir,"   but  the  wheel   is 
Fortuna's  wheel.) 
IV.   2744.   With  al  the  vicis  *  of  pride  &  lecherie   (The  reading 
in  the  MSS.   is  "spicis,"   "spices,"   "spyces,"   and 
"spises"  in  Tottel.) 
IV.   2791.   Callid  [him]  hom  ageyn  into  ther  toun 
V.     992.   And  of  thes  [noble]  worthi  princis  tweyne 
V.  3 141.  Off  this  moordre[r]  the  hatful  tirannye 
VI.   2459.   Which  thoruh  the  *  world  yiueth  so  gret  a  soun    (The 
MSS.  have  "thoruh  al  the  world";  and  it  is  possible 
that   Lydgate  so  wrote  the  line,   although   he   uses 
"al"  in  the  preceding  line.) 
VII.    1610.   Of  plate  and  maile  [ther]  armure  was  so  fair 
VIII.     408.   To  this   emperour   I   nil  *    resorte  ageyn    (The    MSS. 
have  "wil"  instead  of  "nil.") 

De  Casxbus  Ptrorum  Jllustrtum 


Exquirenti  mlhi  quid  ex  labore  studioruw  meorum  possem 
reipublicae  vtilitatis  adferre,  mores  hominuTn  illustrium  max- 
ime  obtulere  sese  obuiam:  quos  dum  illecebres  turpiqw<f  libidine 
foedos  intuerer:  effraenesque  non  aliter  quam  si  fortunam  in 
sopnum  perpetuuw  soporassent  haerbis  aut  cantato  carmine: 
suosqu<f  principatus  ferreis  vncis  adamantine  in  scopulo  fir- 
massent:  aduerterem:  Nee  ob  id  solum  caeteros  pro  viribus 
premere:  quinimmo  et  in  ipsum  rerum  omnium  opificem  stulta 
quadam  temeritate  consurgere  cemerem:  obstupui.  Et  dum 
damnarem  dementiam:  longam  quepii  patris  patientiam  ad- 
mirarer:  Ecce  in  mentem  incidit  quod  quaerebam.  Quid  enim 
hac  charitate  auiditati  mortalium  et  saluti  perpetuae  vtilius: 
quam  oberrantes  si  possis  /  in  rectum  tramitem  reuocare  ?  In 
quod  &  si  hactenus  eloquentissimi  &  sacra  pietate  conspicui 
viri  persaepe  conatu  maximo  elaborauerunt:  Non  inofficiosum 
existimo:  si  vt  ipse  (quamuis  per  viribus  non  sim)  eos  a  sopore 
letifero  inuitarem:  vigiliam  excussisse  tentauerim.  Sane  quum 
tales  oscenis  voluptatibus  adsueti  difficiles  animos  demon- 
strationibwj  praestare  consueuerint:  &  lepiditate  historiarum 
capi  nonnunquam:  exemplis  agendum  ratus  sum.  Et  quid 
deus  sine  (vt  eorum  more  loquar)  fortuna  in  elatos  possit 
describere:  Et  (ne  in  tempus  aut  sexum  cadat  obiectio)  a 
mundi  primordio  in  nostrum  vsque  aeuuw  consternatos  duces: 
illustresque  alios  tam  viros  quam  mulieres  passim  disiectos: 
in  medium  succincte  deducere  mens  est.  Absit  tamen  vt  omnes 
dixerim.  Quis  enim  mortalium  tanti  foret  vt  infinito  posset 
labori  sufficere  ?  Set  ex  claris  quosdam  clarissimos  excerpsisse 
sat  erit,  vt  dum  senes  fluxosque  principes  et  dei  iudicio  quas- 
satos  in  solum  reges  viderint:  dei  potentiam:  fragilitatem 
suam:  &  fortunae  lubricum  noscant:  &  laetis  modum  ponere 
discant:  Et  sic  aliorum  periculo  suae  possint  vtilitati  consu- 
lere.  Porro  ne  continua  historiarum  series  legenti  possit  esse 
fasti  dio:  morsus  in  vitia:  &  ad  virtutem  suasiones  inseruisse 
quandoque  tam  delectabile  quam  vtile  arbitratus:  adnectam. 
Cui  tam  sublimi  coepto  ac  successui  is  quem  penes  potestas 
est  omnis  /  supplex  precor  /  sauens  adsit:  &  in  sui  nominis 
gloriam  quod  scripsisse  dederit  ipse  conseruet. 

^  From  Jean  Petit's  edition  [n.d.,  but  after  isoy^- 



Exquirenti  mihi,  quid  ex  labore  studiorum  meoruw  possem 
forsan  Reipub.  utilitatis  addere,  occurrere  pmeter  creditum 
multa,  maiori  tamen  ornatu  in  mentem  sese  ingessere  princi- 
pum,  atqwif  praesidentium  quorum  cunqw^  obscoenae  libidines, 
violentiae  truces,  perdita  otia,  auaritia  inexplebilis,  cruenta 
odia,  vltiones  armatae,  praecipitesq7<(?,  &  longe  plura  scelesta 
facinora.  Quae  cum  ductu  caelestium  viderem  in  illo  coercito 
freno  euolantia  undiqw^,  inde  honestatem  omnem  foedari 
publicam,  iustitiae  sacratissimas  leges  solui,  labefactari  uirtutes 
omnes,  &  quod  infandum  est,  detestandis  exemplis,  in  mores 
impios  ignar^ae  multitudinis  ingenia  trahi.  Ratus  eo  me  a 
fortuna  deductuw,  quo  appetebat  intentio:  festinus  arripui 
calamum  scripturus  in  tales.  Nam  quid  satius  est,  quam 
uires  omnes  exponere,  ut  in  frugem  melioris  uitae  retrahantur 
errantes,  a  desidibus  sopitis  letalis  somnus  excutiatur,  uitia 
reprimantur,  &  extollantur  virtutes.  Nee  me  terruit  maiorum 
nostrorum  in  hos  ingentia  vidisse  volumina,  &  ilia  nouisse 
styli  suauitate,  &  pondere  sententiarum  meis  literulis  praepo- 
nenda:  plurimum  eum  meminerim,  nonnunqw^  rudem  notulam 
excitasse  nonnuUos,  quos  tonitrua  mouisse  non  poterant.  Bona 
igitur  pace  talium,  quo  impellit  dicendi  impetus  tendaw:  si 
forsan  saxea  haec  corda,  tenui  spiritu  oris  mei,  in  salutem 
meam  mollire  saltem  paululum  queam.  Sane  cum  tales  ob- 
stent,  sueti  voluptatibus  animos  difficiles  demonstrationibus 
praestare  consuerint,  &  lepiditate  Historiarum  capi  nonnunqw^, 
exemplis  agendum  ratus  sum  eis,  quid  Deus  omnipotens,  seu, 
ut  eorum  loquar  more,  fortuna  in  elatos  possit,  &  fecerit.  Et 
ne  in  tempus,  aut  sexuw  cadat  abiectio,  a  mundi  primordio, 
in  nostrum  usque  aeuum  consternatos  duces,  illustresqw^  alios, 
tam  uiros,  quawi  mulieres  passim  deiectos,  in  medium  suc- 
cincte  deducere  mens  est.  Absit  tamen  ut  omnes  dixerim. 
Quis  enim  mortalium  tanti  foret  ?  ut  infinito  labori  possit 
sufficere  ?  Sed  ex  claris  quosdam  clariores  excerpsisse  satis 
erit.  Vt  dum  segnes,  fluxosq?^^  principes,  &  Dei  iudicio  quas- 
satos  in  solum,  reges  viderint,  Dei  potentiam,  fragilitatem  suam, 
&  fortun^e  lubricuw  noscant:  &  laetis  modum  ponere  discant, 
ut  aliorum  periculo  suae  possint  vtilitati  consulere.  Porro  ne 
continua  historiarum  series  legenti  possit  fastidium  aliquod 
inferre,  morsus  in  vitia,  et  ad  virtutem  suasiones  inseruisse 
quandoqw^,  tam  delectabile,  quam  utile  arbitratus  annectam. 
Cui  tam  audaci  ceptui,  &  successui,  eum  quem  penes  maiestas 
est  omnis  supprecor,  fauens  adsit,  &  in  sui  nominis  gloriam, 
quod  scripsisse  dederit,  ipse  conseruet. 

^  From  Ziegler's  edition,  Augsburg,   1544. 





Div  strenve  miles  emvnctum  ex  ingenio  meo  opusculum, 
in  quo  virorum  Illustrium  tractantur  casus,  &  ut  plurimum 
infelices  exitus,  me  penes  ociosum  fuit.  Non  enim  satis  mecum 
conueniebam,  cui  nam  primo  illud  mittere  uellem,  ut  nomini 
suo  aliquid  adferret  omatus:  &  eiusdem  adiutus  subsidijs, 
melioribus  quam  meis  auspicijs  prodiret  in  medium.  Cupimus 
enim  omnes,  quadam  vmbratili  impulsi  gloria,  quibus  auxilijs 
possumus,  fragiles  labores  nostros  nobilitare,  &  diuturniores 
facere:  &  scriptores  potissime.  Et  inter  alia,  quasi  multum 
illis  splendoris  consequuturum  sit,  Pontifici,  seu  Caesari,  aut 
Regi,  uel  alicui  principi  maximo  titulamus  eosdem.  Quamo- 
brem  longa  indagine  mentis  quaesiui,  quem  ex  multis  unum 
eligerem:  &  ante  alios  praepollentes  mecum  euoluere  coepi 
Pontifices,  quorum  vetus  sanctitas,  iamdudum  plures,  pia 
afFectione,  libellos  claros  reddiderat.  Sane  dum  modemos, 
ex  veteribus  exorbitantes,  (qui  lachn'^mis,  &  orationibus  in 
aduersantes  deuotioni  eorum,  uirtutes  coelorum  mouere  con- 
sueuerant)  vidi  ex  sacerdotalibus  infulis  galeas,  ex  pastoralibus 
baculis  lanceas,  ex  sacris  uestibus  loricas,  in  quietem,  et  lib- 
ertatem  innocentium  conflate:  ambire  Martialia  castra,  in- 
cendijs,  violentijs,  Christiano  sanguine  fuso  laetari:  satagen- 
tesqu^  aduersus  veritatis  verbum  dicentis,  Regnum  meum  non 
est  de  hoc  mundo,  orbis  imperium  occupare,  horrui,  retraxiqu^ 
pedem:  ratus  apud  huiusmodi  ludibrium  potius  opusculum 
meum  futurum,  quam  ob  aliquod  eius  meritum  preciosum: 
&  ab  ijs  frustratus,  in  hodiemum  Caesarem  aciem  mentis  de- 
flexi,  Sed  confestim  reuocaui  consilium,  sentiens  eum  mag- 
nalium  suorum  immemorem,  praeponentemqu<f  Thebani  Bacchi 
uina  colentis  gloriam,  splendoribus  Martis  Italici,  nee  non 
torpentem  sub  Circio  in  extremo  orbis  angulo,  inter  niues,  & 
pocula.  Sed  quid  tandem?  subiere  pectus  anxium,  qui  notis 
insigniti  regijs,  reges  haberi  uolunt,  cum  phalerati  sint  ona- 
gri: &  ij  potissime,  qui  hac  tempestate  praesident  regnis.  Oc- 
curritqw^r  primus  Gallus  Sicamber,  qui  se  temerario  ausu  genere, 
&  moribus  praeferre  caeteris  audet:  &  cui  primates  monstrauere 
sui,  nedum  philosophari  turpissimum  fore  Regi,  uerem  liter- 
arum  nouisse  caracteres,  detrimentum  Regiae  Maiestatis 
permaximum  signari.  Qui  sic  sapiunt,  damnantes  in  Regibus, 
quod  bellicosos  reddit  egregios.  Inde  Hispani,  seu  Barbari, 
&  eflTeraces  hoies  affuere.  Post  &  Seuerus  Britannus,  elatus 
nouis  successibus.     Sic  et   Pannonius   Bilinguis  populi  multi- 

^  From  Ziegler's  edition, 

1  Boccaccio's  Letter  to  Mainardo  del  Cavalcanti 

tudine  potius  quam  virtute  valens.  Postremo  mollis,  &  efFoem- 
inatus  Siculus.  Quorum  omnium  dum  mores,  &  vitam  segre- 
gatim  intueor,  ne  per  eorum  discurram  luxum,  &  inertiam, 
rectius  regum  simulachra,  quam  reges  uisi  sunt,  Quadpropter 
nausea  quadam  vexatus  (ne  in  fabulam  deducerem,  quod 
cupiebam  extollere)  ab  indagine  destiti:  &  quasi  decreueraw 
illud  fortunae  manibus  cowmittere,  et  fere  iam  emissurus  eram, 
dum  illi  misertus  Deus,  in  laudabile  consilium  incidi.  Nemini 
scilicet  quamtumcumqw^  eminenti,  ztque  praefulgido  principi 
posse  quiddaw  fidentius  quam  amico  committi:  etiamsi  extre- 
mae  fortis  homo  sit.  Quod  iampridem  persaepe  legimus  illustres 
fecisse  uiros.  Et  cum  tali  gratularer  animaduertentiae,  &  ecce 
quasi  tu  missus  in  mentem  uenisti,  Tum  ego  mecum,  quid 
inter  syluestres  beluas  rugientes  potius  quam  loquentes,  mag- 
istr<3e  rerum  philosophise  hostes  quaeris,  quod  in  sinu  tuo  opta- 
tissimum  tenes,  quod  in  oculis  tuis  assidue  est,  quod  te  coram 
semper  obambulat?  Nonne  uides  Machinardum  tuum?  tua 
iamdiu  approbatum  sententia:  cuius  fidem,  dilectionew,  cuius 
munificentiam  saepe  expertus  es.  Quem  ergo  aluim  quaeris? 
Nonne  insuper  huic  sacra  affinitate  iunctus  es?  Secum  si 
meminit,  vnici  filij  eius  communis  pater  es.  Illi  enim  dedit 
ipse  naturali  lege  ut  esset,  cum  paracleto  operante  spiritu, 
ut  bene  esset  dedisti,  dum  ilium  ex  sacri  fontis  lauacro  sus- 
cepisti,  Praeterea  is,  esto,  plene  philosophicis  eruditus  non 
sit,  amantissimus  tamen  studiorum  est,  &  probatorum  homi- 
num  praecipuus  cultor,  atque  eorum  operum  solertissimus 
indagator.  Nee  est,  quod  tu  summopere  uitare  uidebaris, 
vnus  ex  mercenaria  plebe,  aut  inglorius,  &  degener  homo, 
regia  enim  militia  insignitus  est,  &  egregie  splendido  titulo: 
&  ex  Caualcantibus  clara  ciuitatis  nostrae  familia  genitus.  Ab 
auorum  fulgore  non  deuiat,  quinimo  singulare  decus,  &  pricae  vir- 
tutis  specimen,  nomen  suum,  &  patriam  laudabili  fulgore  red- 
dit  illustrem.  Quid  multa  dixerim?  a  deo  in  sententiam  banc 
venisse  placuit,  ut  quanto  magis  mecum  ista  reuoluerem,  tanto 
arctius  roboraretur  consilium,  et  firmius  infigeretur  animo.  Tuo 
igitur,  amantissime  mi,  dummodo  pauperis  amici  munusculum 
now  renuas,  honorando  semper  nomini  dico,  quod  paulo  ante 
Regali  insigniri  cupiebam.  Suscipe  illud  liberali  animo,  si  quid 
sanctum  amicitiae  nomen,  iamdiu  inter  te,  &  me  aequo  firmatum 
animo  meretur.  Quaeso  susceptum,  dum  per  honestum  ocium 
poteris  legas,  non  equidem  legisse  penitebit,  si  satis  ingenium 
tuum  noui.  Et  inter  legendum  non  pigeat  minus  decenter 
se  habentia  emendasse.  Et  dum  uidebitur,  post  hoc,  inter 
amicos  communes,  &  postremo  tuo  nomine  emittas  in  publi- 
cum, ut  ipse  pro  viribus  celebre  nomen  tuum,  meumqw<f  aliquali 
fulgore,  per  ora  uirorum  discurrens,  illustres.    Vale. 

2De«  Ca«  SDes  JI3obIe«  i^ommes 
et  iFemmes 


[fiir  war  retaitud  in  Laurence's  second  version.^ 

Cest  la  translacion  du  prologue  lehan  boccace  ou  liure  des 
cas  des  nobles  hommes  &  femmes  maleureux,  commencant  en 
latin:  Exquirenti  michi  quid  ex  labore,  &  cetera.  [^  Et  enuoie 
son  liure  a  vng  sien  compere  cheualier  appelle  messire  maguard 
des  cheualchans  de  florence  Senechal  de  Scicile  ainsi  comme 
II  appart  par  vne  epistre  surce  (aicte  par  le  dit  Boccace  en 
la  quele  II  blasme  et  reprent  ouuertement  et  a  cause  tous 
les  princes  crestiens.]^ 

Qvant  le  enqw^roye  quel  proufiit  le  peusse  faire  a  la  chose 
publique  par  le  labeur  de  mon  estude,  le  tournay  mon  engin 
a  considerer  les  maintiens  &  les  meurs  des  nobles  hommes 
&  femmes  qui  principallement  se  presenterent  deuant  les  yuelx 
de  mon  entendement,  &  quant  le  les  apperceu  ordoyez  en  vains 
delictz  &  en  plaisirs  deshonnestes,  le  consideray  Iceulx  estre 
desroyes  &  sans  fraing,  ainsy  comme  se  [ilz  eussent  endormie 
fortune  par  herbes  ou  par  enchantemens  ou  ainsi  comme  se]' 
Ilz  eussent  fermees  leurs  seignouries  a  croz  de  fer  a  roche  day- 
mant.  Et  pource  que  ilz  cuydoient  leurs  seignouries  estre 
fermes  &  p<rrdurables,  Ilz  par  leurs  forces  submarchoient 
non  pas  seullement  les  autres  moindres  hommes,  mais  le  les 
regardoye  enorgueillir  &  rebeller  comme  folz  &  oultrageux  * 
contre  dieu,  le  faiseur  de  toutes  choses,  dont  le  me  esmerueillay; 
&  quant  le  condamnoie  lenragee  folie  de  ces  nobles  hommes 
&  femmes,  &  le  conme  esbahy  consideroye  la  longue  pacience 
de  dieu,  le  pere  debonnaire,  celle  chose  me  vint  en  courage 
que  le  querroie.  Certes  le  dis  en  mon  cueur  aucune  chose 
nest  pas  plus  prouffitable  ne  plus  charitable  a  la  communaulte 
des  hommes  &  au  salut  pardurable,  que  de  rappeller  au  droit 
chemin  ceulx  qui  sont  desuoyez  se  le  puis,  auquel  rauoyement 
combien   que   aulcuns   hommes   bien    enlangagiez  *    &   nobles 

^  From  du  Pre's  edition,  1483,  with  corrections  and  additions  from  MSS. 
Royal  18.  D.  VII.  and  Royal  20.  C.  IV. 

«  From  MS.  Royal  18.  D.  VII.  '  From  the  two  Royal  MSS. 

*  oultrageiaj  orgueilleux,  du  Pre.  ^  enlangagiez]]  alangagez,  du  Pre. 


Hi  Laurence's  Prologue 

par  aucuwes  sainctes  &  doulces  paroUes  y  ayent  traueille  lusques 
cy,  toutesfois  le  pense  que  cest  chose  prouffitable  se  le  me  essaye 
oster  telz  hommes  du  somme  qui  est  semblable  a  la  mort  & 
a  les  reueillier  pour  vitement  ouurer,  combien  que  le  ne  soye 
mie  pareil  aux  anciens  historiens.  Et  certain  est  que  cowme 
telz  hommes  desuoiez  soient  accoustumez  de  ensuiuir  ordes 
delectacions,  Ilz  acoustumeront  a  grant  peine  leurs  couraiges 
a  ouyr  les  clers  enseignemens  de  vertu,  mais  puis  que  Ilz  ont 
acoustuwe  de  voulentiers  ouyr  la  doulceur  des  histoires  lay 
pense  en  mon  cueur  de  demener  mon  pr^fsewt  liure  aulcunes- 
fois  par  exemples,  &  de  escrire  quelle  puissance  ait  dieu  contre 
les  orgueilleux  qui  appellent  dieu  fortune.  Et  affin  que  len 
ne  doubte  de  quel  temps  ou  de  quelles  pi?rsonnes  nous  traic- 
tons  en  ce  liure,  nous  respondons  que  des  le  commencement  du 
monde  lusques  a  nostre  temps  nous  voulons  briefment  de- 
mener &  descrire  en  appert  les  fortunes  &  les  cas  daulcuns  roys, 
ducz  &  C^e]]  autres  nobles  hommes  &  femmes  lesquelz  fortune 
communement  a  abbaissiez  ^  de  leurs  haultains  esta[t]s,  &  si 
ne  dis  pas  que  le  escripue  de  tous  roys,  ducz  &  autres  nobles 
[hommes],  car  II  nest  aucun  engin  si  grant  qui  souffisist  a  si 
grant  labeur  &  peine,  mais  des  nobles  hommes  &  femmes  II 
me  souffist  prendre  aulcuws  des  plus  nobles  affin  que  quant 
les  howmes  verront  par  escript  les  princes  du  monde  estre  febles 
&  vains,  &  les  roys  ^exus  &  quotis  lusques  a  [la]]  terre  par  le 
lugement  de  dieu,  Ilz  ayent  congnoissance  de  la  puissance 
diuine  &  de  la  feblesse  et  muablete  de  lestat  de  fortune,  & 
que  Ilz  ayent  mesure  &  attemprance^  entre  les  bieneuretez 
mondaines.  Et  affin  que  per  le  peril  la  aduenu  aux  autres 
Ilz  puissent  pourueoir  a  leur  mesme  prouffit,  &  aussy  affin 
que  par  continuel  racomptement  des  histoires  le  ne  face  ennuy 
a  celuy  que  ce  liure  lira:  lay  determine  tant  pour  prouffit 
comme  pour  delectacion  de  reprendre  &  blasmer  les  vices  des 
personnes  &  de  semer^  &  mettre  en  aulcuns  chapitres  admon- 
nestemens  pour  viure  selon  vertus,  auquel  hault  commence- 
ment &  pour  suite  le  prie  humblement  celuy  enuers  qui  est 
toute  puissance  quil  me  vueille  estre  fauorable  &  que  II  garde 
&  deffende  ce  que  II  me  ottroiera  escrire  a  la  gloire  de  son  nom. 


Le  prologue  du  translateur. 

Selon  raison  et  bonnes  meurs  lowme  soy  excercant  en  aulcune 
science  speculatiue  ou  aultre,  peut  honnestement  muer  son 
conseil  [ou  propos]  de  bien  en  mieulx  attendue  la  mutacion 
des  choses,  des  temps,  &  des  lieux,  &  aussi  peut  vng  potier 

1  abbaissiez]  abessez,  du  Pre.        ^  attrempance,  du  Pre.       *  finer,  du  Pre. 
*  From  du  Pre's  edition.    This  is  the  preface  to  the  second  version. 

Laurence's  Prologue  liii 

casser  &  rompre  aulcun  sien  vaissel  combien  quil  solt  bien 
fait,  pour  lui  donner  autre  forme  qui  luy  semble  meilleure. 
Et  ceste  licence  de  muer  la  chose  en  mieulx  nest  pas  donnee 
a  lowme  pour  seullement  amender  ou  corrigier  sa  propre  oeuure, 
ains  mesmement  est  a  chascun  donnee  pour  ce  faire  en  la  be- 
songne  dautruy,  mais  que  on  le  face  par  bonte  de  couraige 
&  par  mouuement  de  pure  ^  charite  qui  en  soy  ne  contient 
enuye  ne  arrogance.  Comme  doncques  la  pieca  le  laurens 
de  premier  fait  a  lenhortement  &  requeste  daulcuns  euz  trans- 
late de  latin  en  francois  le  moins  mal  qu<f  le  peuz  vng  tresno- 
table  &  exquis  liure  de  lehan  boccace,  des  cas  des  nobles  homme- 
&  femmes,  en  la  translation  du  quel  lay  ensuyui  precisement 
&  au  luste  les  sentences  prinses  du  propre  langaige  de  lacteur, 
qui  est  moult  subtil  &  artificiel,  &  II  soit  vray  que  mesmes 
aulcuns  de  ceulx  qui  se  dient  clers  &  hommes  lettrez  seufFrent 
en  eulx  tresgrant  dommage  dignorance  qui  leur  aduient  par 
defFaulte  de  trois  sciences,  qui  enseignent  droictement,  vraye- 
ment,  &  bellement  parler,  cestassauvoir  grawmaire,  logiqw(f, 
&  rethorique,  parquoy  II  aduient  (\ue  les  liures  latins  ditez 
&  escritz  par  les  philosophes,  poetes,  &  historiens  bien  en- 
seignez  en  toutes  sciences  humaines  sont  moult  loing  &  des- 
seruez  de  lentendement  que  dame  nature  donne  communement 
aux  hommes,  [et|]  pource  doncques  [jsecourir  a  ce  tres  grant 
default  il]  conuient  se  me  semble,  que  les  liures  latins  en  leurs 
trenslacions  soient  muez  &  conuertis  en  tel  lengaige  que  les 
liseurs  &  escouteurs  diceulx  puissent  comprendre  lefFect  de 
la  sentence  sans  trop  grant  &  trop  long  trauail  de  entende- 
ment.  le  doncques  selon  le  lugement*  commun  en  amendant, 
se  le  puis,  la  premiere  translacion  du  dit  liure  vueil  sans  riens 
condawner  autre  ^  fois  translater  le  dit  liure.  Affin  cest  as- 
sauoir  que  de  tant  quil  sera  plus  cler  &  plus  ouuert  en  sentences 
&  en  parolles,  de  tant  II  delectera  a  lire  &  a  escouter  plusieurs 
hommes  &  fenrmes.  Et  par  ce  moyen  auec  laide  de  la  grace 
diuine  apr<fs  quilz  congnoistront  plus  a  plain  la  miserable 
condicion  &  le  tourment  &  le  muable  estat  des  choses  de  fortune, 
Ilz  les  reputeront  moins,  ains  les  despriseront  de  tant  plus  & 
estimeront  les  choses  diuines  &  celestes  qui  ont  vraye  seurete 
&  loye  pardurable.  Et  certain  est  que  entre  tous  autres  vol- 
umes escriptz  par  a[u]cteurs  historiens,  ce  present  liure  parlant 
des  doulces  &  ameres  fortunes  des  nobles  hommes  &  femmes 
est  de  tressingulier  prix  &  de  noble  exemple  de  vertus,  car  II 
fait  presque  mencion  ou  en  long  ou  en  brief  des  histoires  de 
tous  ceulx  &  celles  qui  depuis  le  commencement  du  monde 

1  de  pure   charite,  Royal  i8.  D.  VII.    and    Royal  20.  C.  IV.   Du   Pre  has 
"de  oeuure  de  charite." 

'  le  lugement]  lentendement,  du  Pre. 
*  autre]  vne  autre,  du  Pre. 

liv  Laurence's  Dedication  to  the  Duke  of  Berry 

lusques  a  lehaw  roy  de  France,  mort  prisonnier  en  angleterre, 
ont  eu  puissances,  richesses,  dignitez,  honneurs,  &  delectacions 
mondaines,  car  fortune  a  de  coustume  de  abatre  lus  &  de  froisser 
presque  tous  ceulx  quelle  a  esleue  au  plus  hault  degre  de  sa  roe; 
&  par  ainsy  ce  liure  moult  estroit  &  brief  en  parolles  est  entre 
tous  Qes^  autres  liures  le  plus  ample  &  le  plus  long  a  le  droit 
expliquer  par  sentences  ramenables  aux  histoires,  en  faisant 
done  ceste  beso[i]ngne  longue,  &  espandue  &  recueillie  de  diuers 
historiens  par  le  moyen  de  la  grace  diuine.  le  vueil  [[princi- 
palment  moy  ficher]  en  deux  choses  cest  assauoir  mettre  en 
cler  langaige  les  sentences  du  liure,  &  les  histoires  qui  par 
laucteur  ^  sont  si  briefment  toucheez  que  II  nen  met  fors 
seulement  les  noms.  le  les  assouuiray  selon  la  verite  des  vieilz  ^ 
historiens  qui  au  long  les  escriuirewt.  Et  si  ne  vueil  pas  dire 
que  lehan  boccace,  a[u]cteur  de  ce  liure,  qui  en  son  temps  fut 
tresgrant  &  renomme  historien,  ait  delaisse  les  dictes  histoires 
par  Ignorance  de  les  non  auoir  scenes,  ou  par  orgueil  de  les 
non  daignier  escripre,  car  II  les  auoit  si  propices  a  la  main  & 
si  ficheez  en  memoire,  que  II  les  reputa  communes  &  cogneues 
aux  autres  comme  a  soy.  Affin  doncqw^s  que  le  liure  ait  toutes 
ses  parties  et  soit  cowplet  en  soy,  le  les  mettray  briefmCnt 
sans  delaisser  que  trespou  le  texte  de  lacteur.  Si  prie  dieu ' 
que  a  ceste  oeuure  commencer,  moyenner  &  finer,  me  vueille 
donner  faueur  &  ayde.  Et  si  requier  les  hommes  que  benigne- 
ment  me  suportent  &  excusent  en  moy  donnant  pardon  des 
choses  moins  bien  faictes  ou  dictes. 


[_Th{s  appears  only  in  Laurence's  second  version."} 

A  Puissant  noble  et  excellent  prince  lehan  filz  de  Roy  de 
france,  due  de  berry  et  dauguerne,  Conte  de  poitou,  destampes 
de  boulongne  &  dauuergne,  Laurens  de  premierfait,  clerc  et 
vostre  mains  digne  secretaire  et  serf  de  bonne  foy,  toute  obe- 
dience et  subieccion  deue  comme  a  mon  tresredoubte  seigneur 
et  bienfaicteur,  et  agreablement  recepuoir  le  labour  de  mon 
estude  et  benignement  excuser  la  petitesse  de  mon  engin  au 
resgart  de  la  grant  besoigne  de  vostre  commandement  par 
moy  ia  pieca  entreprise  et  nouuelement  finee.  ^  Combien 
que  par  vostre  espicial  mandement  Je  aye  soubz  la  confiance  de 
vostre  naturele  benignite  et  en  espoir  de  uostre  gracieux  aide 

^  laucteur]  les  acteurs,  du  Pre. 

^  vieilz]  haulx,  du   Pre.  '  dieu]  a  dieu,  du  Pre. 

4  From  MS.  Royal  i8.  D.  VII.  (R),  fol.  z,ff.,  with  a  few  corrections  from 
MSS.  Royal  20.  C.  IV.  (R  2)  and  Add.  18,750  (Add.) 

Laurence's  Dedication  to  the  Duke  of  Berry  Iv 

et  confort  entrepris  le  dongereux  et  long  trauail  de  la  trans- 
lacion  de  vng  tresexquis  et  singulier  volume,  des  cas  des  nobles 
hommes  et  femmes  escript  et  compile  par  lehan  bocacce  de 
Certald,  ladis  homme  moult  excellent  et  expert  en  anciannes 
hystoires  et  toutes  aultres  sciences  humaines  et  diuines.  Neant- 
moins  pour  lexcellence  de  celle  ancienne  Royale  lignie  dont 
vous  prenes  naissance,  et  aussi  de  la  noblesse  de  voz  meurs 
et  uertus  qui  a  bon  droit  desseruent  pardurable  beneurete 
enuers  dieu,  et  enuers  les  hommes  louenge  et  renomnee.  ^  la 
long  temps  a  que  en  obeissant  a  voz  commandemens  le  toumai 
mon  couraige,  a  Iceulx  acomplir  ainsi  comme  le  doy.  Cest 
asauoir  a  translater  en  langaige  franco3's  le  volume  dessuj 
dit,  contenant  en  latin  neuf  liures  particuliers  racomptans  ou 
en  long  ou  en  brief  les  malheureux  cas  des  nobles  hommes  et 
femmes  qui  depuis  adam  et  eue,  les  premiers  de  tous  hommes 
monterent  ou  hault  degre  de  la  Roe  de  fortune,  iusques  au 
temps  de  tres  excellent  et  noble  prince  lehan,  le  premier  de 
ce  nom,  vostre  tr^s  loyal  pere,  ladiz  Roy  des  francoys,  du 
quel  le  cas  tresbriefment  raconte,  fait  la  fin  de  ce  present  volume. 
Et  pource  doncques  que  ce  present  liure  est  intitule  des  cas 
des  nobles  hommes  et  femmes,  et  que  les  cas  semblent  auoir 
dependence  et  cause  efl&cient  de  par  fortune,  ie  veuil  premiere- 
ment  et  en  brief  selon  mon  aduiz  yci  dire  la  cause  pour  quoi 
toutes  les  dignites  et  honneurs,  richesses,  puissances  et  glo[i]re 
mondaines  ^  samblent  estre  et  soient  subiectes  a  fortune,  qui 
tousdiz  toume  sa  Roe  en  transmuant  les  choses  de  ce  monde. 
Et  apres  ie  diray  vne  prouuable  maniere  par  quoy  chascuin 
homme  et  femme  puissent  eulx  afFranchir  et  exempter  des 
cas  et  des  trebuschetz  de  fortune. 

^  Pour  quoy  choses  mondaines  sent  subiectes  a  fortune. 

fl  Pour  declarer  donques  la  premiere  de  ces  deulx  choses: 
Sauoir  affiert  que  au  commancement  homme  et  femme  furent 
de  dieu  creez  auecques  entiere  beneurete  et  telement  parfaiz 
tant  en  corps  comme  en  ame,  que  neiz  les  sages  croient  que 
adam  et  eue,  parens  de  tout  humain  lignaige,  estoient  immortelz 
et  impassibles  se  il[z]  eussent  bien  gardee  celle  saincte  et  seule 
loy  que  dieu  leur  ot  donnee  ou  paradis  de  delices.  Maiz  pour 
ce  que  contre  eulx  maismes  esquelz  estoit  toute  humaine  nature. 
Ilz  getterent  vng  hazart  par  lequel  ilz  perdirent  les  princi- 
paulx  doarres-  tant  de  corps  comme  de  ame.  Q  Lenfrainte 
et  le  comptent '  de  celle  seule  loy  entre  les  innumerables  maulx 
et  infinis  dogmages  en  engendra  vng  tres  grief,  par  quoi  toute 
hu[m]aine  creature  *  deuint  subiecte  a  fortune  et  a  sa  moquerie. 
Car  deslors  dieu  soufFri  que  les  choses  du  monde  qui  atous 
estoient   pareillement   communes   de   uindrent   propres   selonc 

*  mondaine  Add.,  R  2.  *  contempt  R  2. 

*  douaires  R  2,  Add.  *  nature  R  2,  Add. 

Ivi  Laurence's  Dedication  to  the  Duke  of  Berry 

la  couuoltise  de  celui  qui  par  violence  et  force  les  occupoit 
pour  soy.  Et  pource  que  tous  les  couraiges  des  hommes  au 
regart  de  leur  premier  conmencement  sont  tous  semblables, 
lun  couuoita  celle  mesme  chose  que  lautre  occupoit.  Maiz 
pource  que  deulx  ne  peuent  ensemble  possider  vne  mesme 
chose,  II  a  couuenu  que  lun  dechiee  de  son  desir.  Et  celui 
qui  obtient  ce  que  il  desiroit  sewble  estre  iuchiez  ^  ou  hault 
degre  de  la  roe  de  fortune,  qui  comme  chamberi(?re  de  dieu 
pour  la  punicion  de  leurs  pechies,  vne  foiz  haulse  et  autre 
foiz  abaisse  hommes  et  femmes  saws  discreccion  ne  aduiz  et 
non  pas  selon  la  quawtite  des  merites  des  hommes.  Maiz  p<3r 
vne  confuse  maniere  dont  les  causes  sont  euidens  a  dieu.  Maiz 
les  hommes  comme  ignorans  de  lordrenance  diuine  ne  peuent 
congnoistre  telles  causes.  Quant  donqw<fz  lomme  par  quel- 
conque  moien  monte  du  bas  estat  ou  hault  on  lappelle  beneureux, 
Et  le  descendement  on  le  appelle  ou  cas  ou  malheurte  puis 
que  celui  qui  descent  sefforce  au  contraire  et  que  cest  maulgre 
soy.  Par  quoy  cestui  liure  est  apelle  des  cas  des  nobles  hommes 
et  fenmes.  ^  Et  comme  donques  iuste  punicion  ait  este  cause 
par  quoi  les  howmes  et  les  biens  de  ce  monde  furent  et  sont 
soubzmiz  a  fortune  et  a  sa  moquerie,  en  tant  que  les  estatz 
de  toutes  choses  mondaines  sont  enfermes  et  soubdainement 
muables,  et  en  espicial  des  haultes  choses  trop  plus  que  des 
moyennes.  En  la  punicion  des  deulx  premiers  parens  qui 
orguilleusement  enfraingnirent  la  loy  a  eulx  donnee,  la  iustice 
de  dieu  fut  estroitement  et  droictement  gardee  parce  que 
tous  participent  la  moquerie  de  fortune  qui  se  loue  en  esleuant 
et  en  trebuchant  les  hommes.  Car  puis  ^  que  adam  &  eue 
mistrent  en  rafle  toute  la  bienheurte  huwaine  en  cuidant  icelle 
agrandir  et  en  desobeissant  Il[z]  perdirent  leur  chance,  Ilz 
deslierent  a  tous  le  malheur  que  auoit  atachie  dieu  a  vne  forte 
coulompne  et  soubmistrent  eulx  et  toute  leur  succession  aus 
tournoiemens  de  la  roe  de  fortune  et  a  ses  trebuchetz.  Il[zl 
ouurirent  les  portes  a  tous  pechies.  Il[z]  dechacierent  de  ce 
monde  les  uertus  et  geterent  en  terre  la  semence  de  tous  vices 
que  Jamais  neussent  este  nommez  ne  congneuz  entre  hommes. 
Et  ainsi  comme  toute  nature  humaine  estoit  a  done  en  deux, 
adam  et  eue,  qui  par  leur  franc  arbitre  hazarderent  toute 
leur  beneinete,'  aussi  nous  tous  descendus  deulx  sommes  par 
droit  compaignons  de  celle  perte.  Car  se  il[z]  eussent  gaigne 
et  actaint  la  chose  aquoy  il[z]  tendoient,  chascun  en  voulsist 
estre  compaignon  et  parsonnier.  Aulcuns  par  aduenture  ses- 
bahissent  powr  quoy  tant  de  nobles  hommes  et  femmes  cy 
apres  racontes  chayrent  si  miserablem<fnt  du  tres  hault  au  tres 
bas.  Et  mesmement  alain  le  pouete  se  complaint,  pource 
que  les  iniustes  et  mauues  hommes  sont  tres  souuent  esleues 

*  enchiez  Add.  '  deputs  Add.,  R  2.  •  bienheurte  R  2. 

Laurence's  Dedication  to  the  Duke  of  Berry  Ivii 

aux  tres  haulx  estatz  du  monde.  Et  a  ces  deulx  pointz,  Alain 
respont  vraiement  et  embrief,  Cest  assauoir,  que  fortune  les 
esleua  en  hault  afin  quil[z]  descendissent  par  plus  grief  trebuchet 
qui  les  desrompe  &  froisse  selon  la  pesanteur  de  leurs  iniquites; 
puis  donquez  que  iay  briefment  monstre  que  les  cinq  dons  de 
fortune  qui  contiennent  tous  les  biens  mondains  et  transsitoires 
sont  droittement  par  ordrenance  diuine  soubzmis  a  fortune 
et  a  sa  moqw^rie.  le  vueil  monstrer  cleres  voyes  et  manieres 
par  les  queles  tant  hommes  comme  femmes  puissent  eulx  et 
leurs  choses  exempter  et  affranchir  des  cas  et  de  trebuchetz 
de  fortune. 

Comment  lomme  affranchist  soy  et  ses  choses  de  fortune. 

Et  pource  que  ceste  matere  est  dongereuse  et  obscure  enuers 
aulcuns,  premierement  ie  suppose  pour  uray  que  se  les  biens 
de  aulcun  Homme  ne  lui  semblent  tres  grans  et  tres  larges 
il  est  meschant  et  poure  combien  que  il  feust  seigneur  de  tout 
le  monde.  Et  celui  est  Homme  malHeureux  et  poure  qui  selon 
sa  droicte  conscience  ne  iuge  soy  estre  bienHeureux,  la  soit 
ce  que  tout  le  monde  feust  soubz  sa  seignorie.  Et  cellui  nest 
beneureux  ne  parfait  qui  par  son  propre  lugement  ne  le  cuide 
estre,  Et  riens  ne  vault  se  aulcun  repute  soy  beneureux  qui  est 
plain  de  ricHesses,  se  il  vit  et  ait  uescu  desHonnestement  et  mal, 
et  celui  na  en  soy  aulcune  felicite  qui  est  seigneur  de  maintes 
cHoses,  Maiz  il  est  serf  de  plusieurs.  ^  Ces  cinq  cHoses  dessus 
dictes  ne  cheent  lamaiz  en  Homme  sage.  Se  donques  Homme 
veult  soy  affrancher  et  exempter  de  malHeur  II  lui  conuient 
auoir  la  uertu  de  sapience  qui  en  soy  seule  contient  tous  biens 
sans  commixcion  de  mal.  ^  Le  sage  Homme  est  en  soy  si  par- 
fait et  si  bienHeureux  que  neiz  pour  bien  viure  II  na  besoing 
lamy.^  Le  sage  nest  point  subget  a  fortune,  comme  Seneque 
le  preuue  par  vne  exemple  de  demetrius  ancian  Roy  de  Surie, 
qui  par  tirannie  occupa  main[t]s  pays  et  ardi  maintes  Cites 
de  partHie  et  de  oriant.  En  lune  des  cites  de  partHie  estoit 
adonc  vng  moult  sage  pHilo[so]pHe  nomme  Stilbon,  qui  auoit 
femme,  enfans,  possessions  et  aultres  RicHesses  temporelles. 
Toutes  ses  cHoses  furent  arses,  perdues  &  degastees  par  le 
tirant  Demetrius  et  ses  gens.  Maiz  Stilbon  tout  seul  escHapa 
bienHeureux.  Or  aduint  que  demetrius  lui  demanda  sil  auoit 
perdu  aulcunes  siennes  choses,  et  il  vraiement  et  sagement 
respondi,  quil  nauoit  riens  perdu,  aincois  dist:  tous  mes  biens 
sont  auesques  moy.  La  responce  de  Stilbon  fist  doubteux  le 
tirant  en  tant  que  II  cuida  que  stilbon  leust  vaincu,  pour  ce 
que  il  dist  toutes  mes  cHoses  demeurent  auecques  moy;  et 
uerite  disoit,  car  auecques  lui  estoient  les  uertus  lustice,  pru- 
dence, magnanimite,  attemprance^  et  la  doulce  memoire  de 
ses   uertueuses  oeuures   continuees   sans  les  queles   aucun   ne 

'  Iamy3  damy  R.  *  attemprance]  attrempance  R. 

Iviii         Laurence's  Dedication  to  the  Duke  of  Berry 

puet  luger  soy  estre  beneureux.  Car  homme  indigne  et  mau- 
uaiz  ne  puest  auoir  sentement  de  iuger  soy  estre  beneureux. 
Ains  conuient  que  tous  iours  et  nom  pas  en  pou  de  temp  quil 
ait  bien  uescu  selon  le  droit  iugement  de  soy  mesmes.  ^  Et 
aussi  II  nest  homme  aqui  ces  choses  ne  deplaisent  fors  que  au 
sage.  Car  toute  folie  et  aussi  chascun  fol  engendre  souuent  a 
soy  mesmes  desplaisir  et  ennuy. 

Comment  lacteur  parle  du  cas  de  leglise  presente  et  des 

Helas,  las,  et  troys  foys  las,  par  faulte  de  ceste  sapience, 
mere  et  nourrice  de  toutes  vertus  diuines  et  humaines  cheirent 
Adam  et  eue,  et  par  eulx  est  toute  leur  succession  habandonnee 
au  cas  &  trebuschetz  de  fortune.  Quelz  cuers  tant  soient  durs 
pourroient  soy  abstenir  de  douleur?  Quelz  yelx  tant  soient 
secz  se  porroient  soi  abstenir  de  larmes  quant  les  hommes 
voient  clerement  et  congnoissent  les  cas  ia  aduenus  des  troys 
estatz  du  monde.''  Cest  assauoir,  des  prestres,  des  nobles 
hommes,  aussi  des  laboureurs  de  cestui  temps.  ^  Car  quant 
aux  prestres  qui  par  crasse  ignorance  ne  congnoissent  eulx 
estre  cheuz  de  leur  ancianne  beneurete.  le  di,  sauue  la  paix, 
des  bons  que  ainsi  comme  dame  chastete  qui  est  la  singuliere 
et  souueraine  beaulte  des  femmes  apres  le  temps  du  iuste 
roy  Saturnus.  Chai  et  tomba  ou  temps  de  son  filz  lupiter 
Roy  de  Crete  par  les  exces  et  superfluites  qui  suruindrent  en 
delicieuses  viandes  en  a  tours  orguilleux  et  sumptueux  baptisse- 
mens  de  maisons  et  en  aultres  adminicules  seruans  a  seule 
deshonneste  delectacion.  Aussi  lancianne  sanctite  des  pr<rstres 
est  cheue  et  versee  par  la  trop  grant  habondawce  de  Richesses 
mondaines  qui  soubz  vmbre  de  la  saintite  de  lesxxs  crist  et  de 
aulcuns  siens  disciples  ont  este  donnees  aux  prestres  par  aulcuws 
princes  mondains  qui  a  aulcuns  les  tollirent  pour  les  donner 
aux  prestres  ausquelx  il  vaulsist  mielx  selon  lancienne  saintite 
viure  des  saincts  decimes  qui  sont  deuz  par  droit  diuin  que 
eulx  voultrer  et  pourrir  de  dens  orguilleux  palays  ou  fiens  des 
pechies  auecques  leurs  grans  et  dommageuses  richesses.  ^  He- 
las,  noble  et  excellant  prince,  ne  doit  len  bien  gemir,  douler 
et  plourer  le  cas  et  le  tombement  des  prestres  de  cestui  temps, 
qui  en  tout  ou  en  partie  forslignent  et  desuoient  de  la  sante 
des  anciens,  qui  par  leurs  larmes  et  oracions  soloient  mou- 
uoir  dieu  et  les  uertus  des  cieulx  contre  les  aduersaires  de  la 
foy  catholique.  ^  Les  sains  prestres  ancians  sont  en  lewrs 
successeurs  telment  dessaintiz  que  maintenant  len  forge  heaul- 
mes  de  mittres,  len  fait  lawces  des  croces,  len  fait  des  uestemens 
sacerdotalz  haubergons,  plattes  et  aultres  pieces  darmes  bait- 
ailleresses  pour  trauailler  et  asseruir  les  hommes  simples  et 
innocens.  Les  pr^fstres  de  cestui  temps  poursuiuent  armes 
et  paueillons,  il  font  [IJarsins  et  violences  pupliqw^s;  Ilz  ont 
plaisir  et  loye  despendre  sang  humain;  Ilz  sefForcent  de  occuper 

Laurence's  Dedication  to  the  Duke  of  Berry  lix 

la  seignorie  du  monde  centre  la  sentence  du  vray  lesxxs,  filz 
de  dieu,  disant  en  leuuangile,  que  son  Roiaulme  nest  pas  de 
cestui  monde.  ^  Les  prestres  en  cestui  temps  emplient  les 
sales  des  toys,  les  palays  et  les  tables  en  delaissand  leurs 
eglises,  dont  ilz  se  nomnent  espoux.  Ilz  delaissent  les  choses 
saintes  et  poursuiuent  les  prophanes;  Ilz  sont  pastours  sans 
paistre  ne  congnoistre  les  brebis:  Eulx  que  leglise  fist  nobles 
excercent  vilz  oflBces;  Ilz  desseruent  par  procureurs  et  vicaires 
qui  deux  foj'S  tendent  les  simples  brebiettes:  La  premiere 
tonture  est  aux  vicaires,  et  la  seconde  est  au  pastour  surnomme. 
^  Par  le  bannissement  de  celle  ancianne  sainctite,  Cent  mal- 
heureux  cas  sont  aduenus,  car  le  deable  qui  par  les  merites 
de  la  mort  du  bon  i^jus  et  de  ses  victorieux  martirs  et  glorieux 
confesseurs  auoit  este  loies  en  labisme  denfer  par  les  nou- 
ueaulx  pechies  des  nouueaux  prestres,  et  du  simple  peuple  qui 
est  adheurtes  en  leur  oeuures,  est  ia  pieca  des  loie  et  sa[i]lli  hors 
denfer.  Et  ia  defait  comme  loup  violent  et  forsene  atraict  a 
soy,  las  moy  tresgrant  partie  des  brebis  coz/zmises  en  la  garde 
du  bon  pastour  S.  Pierre,  par  quoy  le  bon  i^fjus,  vray  espoux 
et  pastour  de  sainte  eglise,  a  retiree  sa  main  du  gouuemement 
de  elle.  Et  est  ia  en  vostre  temps  la  chose  atant  venue,  par 
le  pechie  principalment  des  prestres,  et  secondement  du  peuple 
que  par  eulx  la  loy  c^ristianne  est  presque  perie  maintenant. 
La  Robe  de  \es\xs  sans  piece  et  sans  cousture,  a  este,  par  xxxij 
ans  trenchee  en  deulx,  puis  en  troys  pieces.  ^  Et  ou  saint 
et  noble  corps  deglise  dont  lesm  est  le  seul  chief  sont  seur- 
creues  troys  testes  a  maniere  de  ung  monstre.  Et  ne  remaint 
que  a  trespou,  que  la  nef  de  saint  pierre  ne  ait  este  absorbie 
et  noiee  es  flocz  de  lamer  de  ce  monde  par  le  uice  des  nanton- 
niers  qui  la  deuoient  tenir  ou  port  de  repos  et  de  seurte.  En 
brief,  content  le  cas  de  leglise  militant,  excellent,  noble  et 
puissant  prince,  le  prie  humblement  vous  et  tous  aultres 
que  uous  me  excuses  benignement.  Car  le  entens  dire  sobre- 
ment  les  choses  que  vous  et  Cent  Mil  hommes  aues  veues  et 
vncores  voyez:  et  le  assez  le  voy  se  lay  sentement  ne  memoire. 
Et  pource  ie  ne  allegue  aulcuns  autteurs  ne  liures,  car  ces 
paroles  ont  fontaine  et  naiscence  de  vne  familiere  epistre  es- 
cripte  par  lehan  Boccace,  premier  aucteur  de  ce  liure.  En 
celle  epistre  II  pleure  &  regrecte  le  cas  de  mondaine  noblesse. 

Laucteur  parle  du  cas  de  noblesse  mondaine. 

O  dist  il,  bon  dieu  de  sapience  qui  tout  sees  et  congnoys, 
enseigne  moy,  le  te  prie,  en  quele  partie  du  morzde  soit  reposte 
noblesse  dont  les  empereurs  &  roys  portent  les  tiltres  princi- 
paulx?  car  le  layquise  en  lostel  de  Cesar  Roy  des  Rommains, 
de  qui  les  ancesseurs  par  longs  labours  et  par  exquises  dili- 
gences et  par  nobles  oeuures  de  victorieuses  armes  ladis  con- 
quistrent  la  monarchie  du  monde.  ^  Maiz  las  moy,  lai  trouue 
que  lempereur  de  ce  temps  a  oublie,  ou  au  moins  il  dissimule, 

Ix  Laurence's  Dedication  to  the  Duke  of  Berry 

les  proesses  et  loanges  et  les  magnifiques  besoingnes  de  ses 
predecesseurs.  II  a  laissie  le  glorieux  estude  de  Mars  ^  le  dieu 
des  batailles  et  sest  du  tout  adonne  a  bachus  le  dIeu  du  vin; 
II  a  delaissie  la  riche,  ancianne  et  notable  Italie  es  mains  de  mil 
titans,  et  sest  ale  repondre  &  dormir  entre  les  naiges  et  grans 
hanaps  de  vin  en  celle  part  dallemaigne  qui  gist  au  coste  destre 
deuers  soleil  couchant  ou  derrain  anglet  du  monde.  ^  O  las, 
bon  dieu,  com  poure  miroer  de  noblesse,  quel  exemple  de  che- 
ualerie  pour  les  roys  et  aultrifz  princes  du  monde  quant  il[z] 
voient  fetardie,  peresse,  oysiuete  et  entonnrisseur  en  celui 
qui  deust  a  lexample  de  soy  en  hotter,  esmouuoir,  semondre 
et  esueiller  les  autres  princes  a  maintenir  et  defFendre  les  con- 
questz  de  l^wrs  noblez  awcestrez  et  a  Iceulx  amplier  ^  et  ac- 
croistre.  Du  corps  de  lempereur  ainsi  comme  ou  soleil  soloient 
liure  et  resplendir  toutes  uertus  qui  appartement  se  monstroient 
par  nobles  euures  dehors  les  vertus  soient  de  corps  ou  de  courage, 
qui  ne  monstrent  au  dehors  leurs  propres  oeuures  ne  rendewt 
howme  plus  noble  ne  que  la  lune  enlumine  le  monde  quant 
la  terre  sest  mise  entre  le  soleil  &  la  face  de  la  lune.  ^  O  no- 
blesse mondaine,  fille  des  nobles  meurs  &  nourrie  du  lait  des 
saintes  vertuz  qui  est  celui  q^i  ta  vanny  des  hostelz  voiaulx, 
&  aussi  des  aultres  princes?  Tu  respons  que  longuement  tu 
habitas  nomme  comme  hostesse  en  lostel  des  roys  francoys,  et 
que  illenc  volentiers  demouroies,  maiz  que  icelle  erreur  cessast 
parquoy  aucuns  folement  cuiderent  &  encor*?  dient  qjie  seule- 
ment  ce  nest  pas  laide  chose  a  vng  roy  congnoistre  les  figures 
des  lettres,  maiz  il  cuident  et  dient  que  cest  tresgrant  empire- 
ment  de  maieste  Royale.  Maiz  telz  howmes  sont  folz  qui 
ainsi  dient  et  qui  condempnent  telle  chose  es  Roys,  parquoy 
les  hommes  ignobles  sont  droittement  anoblis;  car  droit  office 
de  Roy  et  daultres  princes  est  chacun  iour  seoir  en  siege  iudica- 
tour,  ouir  paciemment  et  sagement  examiner  les  merites  des 
causes  sur  les  controuersies  de  leurs  hommes  subgetz,  et  rendre 
droit  aux  parties  selon  balence  de  iustice.  ^  DefFendre  les  Inno- 
cens  et  punir  les  mauuaiz,  procurer  princilpalment  le  pupliqw^ 
proufit,  et  apres  le  bien  priue  que  len  appelle  demaine  pource 
que  il  vient  des  mains  et  du  labour  du  peuple  en  la  main  du 
prince,  qui  de  sa  puissant  main  doit  garder  et  defFendre  le 
peuple  Impotent.  Et  certes  clere  chose  est,  que  office  royal 
ne  puest  homme  sans  science  et  sans  art  droictement  {^conduire 
et]  excercer,  Ainsi  comme  vng  patron  de  nauire  ne  puet  bonne- 
ment  condu[i]re  en  mer  tempestueuse  et  vndoiant  vne  grant 
nef  sans  gouuernail,  sans  voile,  ne  sans  remmes.  ^  Et  auoir 
en  tour  soy  hommes  lettres  et  nobles  commis  en  offices  publiques, 
ne  monstre  pas  asses  plainement  la  sapience  ne  la  noblesse  du 
roy,  ou  daultre  prince,  se  il  mesme  nest  lettres  et  expert  en 

*  de  Mars3  maiz  R.  *  amplier^  employer  R. 

Laurence's  Dedication  to  the  Duke  of  Berry  Ixi 

oeuure  de  sapience  et  en  discipline  darmes,  cest  vng  corbiau 
vestu  de  plumes  de  paon.  Et  prince  sans  lettres  se  assorte 
a  lasne  qui  coronne  porte,  Et  sil  nest  aulcun  homme  bon  iuge 
fors  que  es  choses  que  il  congnoist  lamaiz  archier  ne  tire  droit 
sa  flesche,  se  il  na  aulcun  signe  deuant  soy.  ^  O  dieu,  quel 
grant  louenge  et  beneurete  seroit  a  vng  roy  ou  aultre  prince 
cowgnoistre  les  causes  de  toutes  choses  auec  celle  noblesse  se 
aulcune  soit  que  viengne  aux  enfans  de  par  leurs  peres.  Car 
ainsi  comme  vng  iardin  con  plante  de  diuerses  especes  darbres 
&  herbes  flories  et  oudourans  est  plus  noble  et  pluj-  precieulx, 
aussi  sont  enfans  de  nobles  hommes  qui  sont  nourris  entre 
les  fleurs  des  sciences  &  oudeurs  des  vertus,  et  qui  ont  longue- 
ment  este  repeuz  des  fruitz.  Attendu  que  noblesse  nest  pas 
hereditaire;  car  elle  prent  naiscence  de  vertuz  et  bonnes  oeu- 
ures;  Et  combien  que  en  punicion  du  pechie  des  premiers  parens 
Adam  &  Eue  seruitute  par  souffrence  de  dieu  soit  introduicte 
entre  les  hommes,  en  tant  que  les  aulcuns  seruent  et  les  aultres 
seignorient  nompas  selon  droit  naturel  ne  ciuil,  maiz  par  le 
droit  des  gens  qui  contient  douze  choses,  dont  seruitute  est 
lune,  neantmoins  aulcuns  nobles  de  ce  temps  sont  si  descheus 
de  lestat  de  uraye  noblesse  que  follement  Ilz  cuident  eulz 
et  non  aultres  estre  hommes  et  que  ilz  puissent  faire  pareile- 
ment  toutes  choses  permises  et  defFendues  sans  encourir  ne 
difFame  ne  peine  combien  que  il  soit  aultrement.  ^  Car  tout 
vice  de  courage  est  plus  griefnjent  a  punir  de  tant  comme  le 
pecheur  est  en  plus  grant  degre.  Et  se  dieu  sage  et  iuste  seufFre 
et  veult  que  les  roys  et  princes  et  aultres  nobles  aient  espee 
de  puissance  sur  leurs  subgetz  II  toute  uoies  ne  veult  quilz 
excercent  fureur  ne  cruaulte,  car  aux  nobles  principalment 
affiert  auoir  clemence  qui  met  equitte  deuant  rigueur  et  veult 
plus  encliner  a  merci  que  a  uerzgence  sans  faillir  hors  des  termes 
de  iustice,  sans  laqu<fle  Roys  ne  sont  roys  ne  royaulmes.  Ains 
sont  tirans  cruelz  et  tirannies.  ^  Par  ainsi  donqui?s  appert 
que  le  plus  grief  cas  et  le  plus  dampnable  trebuschetz  de  noblesse 
cest  forsbanir  et  dechassier  sciences  et  vertus  de  lostel  des 
roys,  et  aultres  princes  ainsi  comme  il  aperra  clerem^nt  par 
le  compte  des  cas  des  nobles  malheureux  descriptz  en  ce  pres- 
ent volume. 

Ci  parle  lacteur  du  cas  des  laboureux  champestres. 

Or  vienge  a  dire  le  cas  des  saintz  laboureurs  et  tresbien 
fortunes,  Maiz  que  ilz  aient  congnoissance  de  la  quantite  des 
biens  que  fortune  leur  donne.  Et  certes,  puissant,  noble  et 
excellant  prince,  es  choses  dessus  di'c/es  en  ce  present  prologue 
lusquez  yci  len  me  doit  tenir  pour  raco7?;pteur  des  paroles 
de  lehan  Boccace  en  vne  sienne  familiere  epistre:  et  chacun 
aussi  congnoist  la  verite  des  deux  cas  de  prestrise  et  de  mondaine 
noblesse.  ^  Maiz  quant  au  tiers  cas  present  parquoy  ie  vueil 
monstrer  le  tresbuchet  des  laboureurs,  et  de  la  chose  rustique. 

Ixii  Laurence's  Dedication  to  the  Duke  of  Berry 

le  prens  uirgile  powr  mon  auteur  et  maistre.  Aulcun  done 
ne  se  m^rueille  se  le  dy  que  lestat  des  laboureurs  et  de  leurs 
choses  ait  este  et  soit  subjet  au  cas  de  fortune:  Combien  que 
commun  prouerbe  soit  que  aulcun  homme  ne  chiet,  fors  celui 
que  siet  en  hault.  Car  en  toutes  choses  sur  quoy  enuie  gecte 
ses  yeulx  dame  fortune  y  entreprent  seignourie,  la  soit  ce  aussi 
que  lendieque  laboureurs  sont  de  si  bas  estat  que  fortune  ne 
les  pourroit  abaisser.  Maiz  sauue  la  paix  de  ceulx  qui  aiwsi 
dient  car  se  les  laboureurs  et  leurs  choses  rustiqMifs  feussent 
ou  [en]corez  soubz  celle  beneurete  et  franchise  en  quoy  ladiz 
il  furent  et  oncorez  deussent  estre  selon  les  loyx  anciennes 
approuuees  diuines  et  humaines,  II  nest  aulcun  aultre  estat 
qui  ait  en  soy  teles  excellances  en  profis  en  delitz  et  en  honnes- 
tetes  publiques  et  priues  comme  la  vie  et  lestat  des  labou- 
reurs, par  qui  les  hommes  sont  soustenus  et  nouris  en  necessite 
de  corps  et  les  sacrifices  diuins  sont  admenistres  selon  la  re- 
ligion publique.  C|  O  bon  dieu,  quant  ladiz  les  cites  tambois- 
soient  par  discensions,  riotes  et  batailles  cruelles,  quant  chasti- 
aulx  et  chastelains  guerroient  les  vngs  contre  les  aultres.  Adonc 
les  laboureurs  contens  de  leurs  propres  biens  viuoient  et  de- 
lectable et  continuelle  paix  en  mutuelle  amour  sanz  soufFrir 
aulcun  dowmage,  rapine  ou  violensce,  ne  en  corps  ne  en  biens: 
On  laissoit  iadiz  cites  murees  et  chasteaux  assiz  sur  roches 
pour  eschapper  mesaises  et  perilz  qui  illenques  souruenoient, 
Et  venoit  len  aux  villaiges  ouuers  et  bas  assiz  pour  y  trouuer 
aisances  et  seurtes,  Et  pour  auoirer  mon  dit  en  labourages 
terrestres  sont  prouffilz  et  delectacions  Innumerables  si  haulte- 
ment  descriptz  et  racomptes  par  tulle,  noble  orateur  rommain, 
en  son  liure  de  vieillesse  lequel  vous  auez  comme  ie  croy  oy 
diligewment  et  entendu,  que  ie  nen  vueil  pr^sentement  escripre, 
Maiz  Ie  vueil  neantmoins  auec  vostre  bon  plaisir  plourer 
apr<?s  vous  les  cas  des  saintz  laboureurs  de  la  chose  rustique 
pource  que  la  chose  ^  publique  et  la  religion  de  vostre  noble 
couraige  se  doit  moult  encliner  a  secourir  aux  choses  tres  dom- 
mageuses  aux  hommes  detestables  enuers  dieu.  ^  Las  moy 
bon  dieu,  quele  moquerie,  quel  monstre  en  bonnes  meurs,  quel 
abuz  de  iustice  est  ce  maintenant  veoir  les  hommes  laboureurs, 
simples  innocens  sans  cruaulte  et  sans  armes,  qui  nuit  et  lour 
demeurent  en  poures  maisonettes  si  sobremi?nt,  repeuz  et 
vestuz  de  leurs  propres  labours  que  a  paines  II  appaisent  la 
faim,  et  de  vilz  palestreaux  II  cueuurcent  leurs  mewbres  recourbes 
et  frossiez  par  continuel  labour,  Ilz  qui  purement  nourissent 
leurs  fewmes  et  enfans  afin  de  les  endurcir  aux  saints  labours 
de  la  terre,  Il[z]  departent  tout  le  temps  de  leur  vie  en  trois  pars: 
Premierement  a  dieu  seruir  en  prieres  et  sacrifices,  a  titer 
par  continuel  labour  des  boyaulx  de  la  terre  toutes  choses 

'  chose]]  pitie  Add.,  R. 

Laurence's  Dedication  to  the  Duke  of  Berry  Ixiii 

necessaires  a  la  vie,  Et  a  multiplier  par  leurs  saintz  mariages 
succession  de  lignie.  Certes  en  ces  iij  choses  na  riens  qui  ne 
soit  accordant  a  la  loy  diuine  et  humaine.  La  vie  des  labou- 
reurs  champestres  droittement  examinee  et  congneue  sambla 
tele  aux  ancians  nobles  hommes,  philosophes  et  princes  quilz 
instituerent  par  editz  et  par  loix  que  ce  lui  seroit  repute  et 
pugny  comme  sacrilege  qui  ofFendroit  et  rauiroit  leurs  labours 
ou  leurs  biens  feust  en  champ  ou  en  ville.  Et  pource  furent 
ilz  et  oncores  sont  appelles  saintz.  ^  Mais,  puissant,  noble  et 
excellent  prince,  escoutez  sil  vous  plaist  le  miserable  cas  de 
ces  laboureurs  et  de  leur  chose  rustique  aux  quelz  se  par  vous 
ou  aultre  aiant  puissance,  voulente  et  sagesse  nest  briefment 
secouru  et  pourueu  en  vostre  temps,  de  remede  couuenable. 
Dieu,  qui  ne  het  ^  aulcun  et  qui  de  tous  a  merci  et  en  espicial 
des  bons  simples  laboureurs  et  aultres  hommes  iustes,  II 
retirera  sa  main  a  sa  beniuolance  des  prestres  et  des  nobles 
qtti  ne  gardent  misericorde,  ne  Justice  enuers  eulx,  ne  enuers 
les  aultres.  Ains  les  soubz  marchent  et  foulent.  II  aduenra 
que  dieu  leur  ostera,  Raison  dentendement,  honneur  de  ancian 
estat  et  les  vestira  de  confusion.  II  espressira  les  tenebres 
de  leurs  ywelx;  II  mettra  trebuschetz  a  leurs  piez  afin  quilz 
cheent  du  tres  hault  au  tres  bas.  ^  II  ramenra  a  neant  ou 
transportera  en  aultres  mains  leurs  orguilleuses  richesses,  hon- 
neurs,  gloires,  dignites  et  puissances.  le  ne  vous  persuade 
ne  admonneste  pas  car  vous  aduisez  asses  par  les  yeulx  de 
vostre  pensee  &  ceulx  de  vostre  corps,  quele  et  com  grant 
iniquite,  seu[e]r[i]te  et  austerite  ce  soit  voir  les  simples  labou- 
reurs proufitables  a  tous  et  nuisans  a  nul  homme  estre  par  apperte 
violence  [^oppressez  etj]  dechasses  de  leurs  propres  ^  maisons, 
mutiles,  batus,  Iniuries  de  fait  et  de  paroles;  leurs  fames  a 
hontages,  leurs  filles  corrompuees,  et  leur  aultres  choses  trans- 
glouties  et  gastees  ou  mises  a  rampson  par  les  nobles  hommes 
darmes  de  ce  temps,  ausquelz  les  roys  et  princes  deputent 
ou  au  moins  doiuent  commettre  la  garde  et  la  defFense  des 
saintz  laboureurs  et  de  leur  chose  rustique.  ^  De  leurs  gaings 
et  labours  sont  comblees  et  esplendies  les  tables  des  Roys, 
des  princes  et  daultres  quel[z]conques  nompas  seulement 
hommes  mayz  bestes  et  oyseaulx  soient  priuees  ou  sauuaiges. 
Et  en  eulx  est  tele  frugalite  et  sobresse  que  pour  aisier  et  se- 
courir  les  aultres  Ilz  seuffrent  voluntairement  disettes  et  me- 
saises:  Ilz  portent  sanz  Reclam  le  lou  de  seruitute  et  le  grief 
faiz  de  truage,  Ilz  regrettent  seulement  que  ilz  ne  possident 
mie  en  seurte  et  en  paix  ce  pou  qui  leur  demeure  apres  dame 
sainte  eglise  et  leurs  aultres  seigneurs  satisfaitz  de  leurs  rentes, 
demaines  et  subsidies.  ^  Entre  les  trois  griefz  tresbuchetz 
de  tele   beneurte   comme  laboureurs  ont   liniquite   et   malice 

*  het3  ^i2>t»  Add.  -  propres]  poures,  R  a. 

bciv  Laurence's  Dedication  to  the  Duke  of  Berry 

des  ministres  des  deulx  iuridicions,  eccliastique  et  seculiere 
cest  la  plwj-  mortele  plale  qui  plus  dedens  les  naure  et  le  diluge 
qui  plus  les  sangloutist.  Car  a  hommes  corrumpus  de  tous 
vices  en  ce  temps  est  cowmise  ladministracion  et  lespee  de 
Justice  a  luger  les  simples  et  Innocens  laboureurs.  ^  Es  cours 
iudicatoires  ^  sont  aduocatz  et  procureurs  bien  instruitz  en 
baratz  et  cauteles  conseillans,  a  mouuoir  et  nourrir  plaiz  et 
controuersies  soit  a  bon  droit  et  ^  a  tort,  afin  de  tirer  ou  goufFre 
de  leur  couuoitise  les  deniers  des  parties  plaidoiaws  soubz 
faulse  couleur  de  auoir  loyaulment  conseille  et  defFendu  les 
causes.  Las  moy,  ne  souffisoit  II  assez  selon  les  saintz  droitz 
canons  que  les  prelatz  aians  les  premieres  dignitez  en  sainte 
eglise  eussent  comment  ^  il  ont  leurs  diligens  Archediacres 
pour  aduiser  et  enquenx  par  les  Cites  et  dioceses  les  crimes 
et  exces  parpetres  par  les  howmes  et  iceulx  rapporter  aux 
oreilles  des  prelatz  des  lieux,  afin  de  iceulx  punir  et  corrigier 
selon  iustice.  Certes  il  souffisoit  a  dieu,  maiz  non  pas  au 
deable  ne  aux  siens,  car  afin  que  soubz  fardee  Justice  toute 
la  substance  des  simples  laboureurs  viengne  a  saouler  la  faim 
de  la  mauldite  couuoitise  des  Euesques  et  aultres  hommes 
deglise.  Ilz  mettent  officiers  en  leurs  cours,  hommes  barbares 
et  sans  pitie,  sans  bonnes  meurs,  sans  uertus  et  sans  sciences 
qui  nuit  et  lour  espient  par  queles  voiez  Ilz  puissent  accuser 
et  traire  en  lugement  simples  et  Innocens  hommes  plus  dignes 
destre  absolz  que  comdempnes.  ^  Pource,  excellant,  noble  et 
puissant  prince,  ce  que  le  scay  vostre  singulier  plaisir  et  toute 
vostre  estude  tournes  en  la  partie  de  commune  bonte  et  que 
aux  malheureux  cas  dessus  diets  wous  comme  puissant  et  sage, 
poues  et  sauez  pourueoir  et  secourir.  Et  que  vos  salutaires 
cowmandemens  attendue  lauctorite  de  vostre  noble  et  com- 
mandable  vieillesse,  peeuent  souuerainement  reparer  les  choses 
deformeez  et  confermer  les  bonnes,  le  au  surcroys  de  tout 
ce  liure  ay  mis  fiablement  ce  prologue  a  fin  que  chacun 
congnoisse  que  vouz  nestes  pas  seulement  nez  pour  vous,  Maiz 
pour  profiter  a  tous  en  ouura?it  la  voye  deschaper  les  cas  de 
fortune  muable  et  au[e]uglesse  parce  que  vous  abandonnez 
a  tous  le  plain  entendement  du  volume  dessus  dit,  du  quel 
par  vostre  commandement  lay  entrepris  la  charge  de  le  trans- 
later  de  latin  en  langaige  francoys.  ^  Si  vueillez  donques 
excellant,  noble  et  puissant  prince,  mon  tres  singulier  bien- 
faitteur  et  redoubte  seigneur,  defFendre  ma  cause  comme  la 
vostre  propre  contre  les  enuieux,  qui  sans  iuste  cause  vouldront 
malicieusement  contrester  a  ceste  vostre  oeuure  qui  par  moy 
est  ourdie  et  terue  au  moins  mal  selon  mon  pouoir.  Et  pour 
leuident  n[e]cessite  et  pour  le  iuste  desir  que  lay  dauoir  bon 

1  iudicatoires]  ludiciares,  R  2.  ^  et]  ou,  Add.,  R  2. 

•  comment]  comme,  Add.,  R  i. 

Laurence* s  Dedication  to  the  Duke  of  Berry  Ixv 

commancement  et  de  meilleur  moyen  et  de  tres  bonne  fin  en 
ceste  besoigne  qui  ne  peuent  daultre  venir  fors  de  celui  qui 
sans  en  auoir  moins  donne  a  tous  ces  dons  de  grace.  ^  le 
prie,  appelle  et  requier  dieu  a  qui  fortune  obeit,  qui  trebuche 
et  drece  les  hommes  selon  leurs  pechiez  et  uertus  que  par  sa 
surhabundant  grace  II  enrichisse  mon  ame  de  science  sans 
errer,  et  ma  bouche  de  paroles  accordans  a  verite  et  me  donne 
bonnes  meurs  sanz  desroguer  a  la  diuine  loy:  Et  quil  conduie 
ma  plume  diligemnent  escruiant  sanz  langoureuse  paresse  au 
commun  prouffit  de  touz  et  a  la  loange  diuine. 

'  L  t>J'> 

i.v  V 




CHere  begynneth  the  book  callyd  I.  Bochas  des- 
criuyng  the  falle  of  F^rjmcys  pryncessys  and 
othir  nobles  translatid  in  to  Inglissh  bi  lohn 
Ludgate  Monke  of  the  Monastery  of  seynt 
Edmundes  Bury  atte  commaundement  of  the 
worthi  prynce  Humfrey  duk  of  Gloucestre 
begynnyng  at  Adam  &  endyng  wit/i  kyng 
lohnc  take  prisonere  in  Fraunce  bi  Prynce 
Edward.]  ^ 

HE  that  whilom  dede  his  dilligence         [p.  i] 
The  book  of  Bochas  in  Frensh  to  translate 
Out  of  Latyn,  he  callid  was  Laurence; 
The  tyme  trewli  remembrid  and  the  date,  4 

The  yere  *  whan  kyng  lohn  thoruh  his  mortal  fate 
Was  prisoner  brouht  to  this  regioun, 
Whan  he  first  gan  on  this  translacioun. 

In  his  prologe  afFermyng  ofF  resoun, 
TArtificeres  hauyng  exercise 
May  chaunge  and  tume  bi  good  discrecloun 
Shappis,  formys,  and  newli  hem  deuyse, 
Make  and  vnmake  in  many  sondry  w>'se, 
As  potteres,  which  to  that  craft  entende, 
Breke  and  renewe  ther  vesselis  to  a-mende. 

\  Thus  men  oflF  crafft  may  off  due  riht, 
That  been  inuentifF  &  han  experience, 
Fantasien  in  ther  inward  siht 
Deuises  newe  thoruh  ther  excellence; 
Expert  maistres  han  therto  licence 
Fro  good  to  bettir  for  to  chaunge  a  thyng, 

,  And  semblabli  these  clerkis  in  writyng, 

/  Thyng  that  was  maad  of  auctowrs  hem  befom, 
Thei  may  off  newe  fynde  and  fantasie, 

Ljrdgate  says 
that  Laurence 
de  Premierfait 
began  his 
in  the  year 
that  King 
lohn  of 
was  brought 
prisoner  to 

3    As  craftsmen 
use  their 
powers  of 

jg     so  may 

skilled  clerks 
amend  and 
improve  their 

3.   he3  erased  in  H. 
16.  han|]  have  H. 

S.  The  yere]  Yeer  B,  R,  H,  There  J. 
1  MS.  J.  leaf  I  a. 

if  they  are 
modest  and 
free  from 

as  was 

He  excelled 
as  a  writer 
of  French, 

but  felt  it 
to  be  a  great 
task  to  write 
the  Fall  of 


No  rose  is 
without  a 
no  man  so 
high  in  his 
estate  that 
he  may  not 

Prologue  Qbk.  i 

Out  of  old  chafF  trie  out  ful  cleene  corn,  24 

Make  it  more  fressh  and  lusti  to  the  eie, 

Ther  subtil  witt  and  ther  labour  applie, 

With  ther  colours  agreable  off  hewe, 

Make  olde  thynges  for  to  seeme  newe,  28 

Afforn  prouydid  that  no  presumpcioun 

In  ther  chaungyng  haue  noon  auctorite, 

And  that  meeknesse  haue  dominaciouw, 

Fals  Envie  that  she  not  present  be;  32 

But  that  ther  grouwd  with  parfit  charite 

Conueied  be  to  ther  auauntage, 

Trewli  rootid  a-myd  of  ther  corage. 

Thus  Laurence  fro  hym  envie  excludid,  36 

Thouh  toforn  hym  translatid  was  this  book, 

Withywne  hymsilff  he.  fulli  hath  concludid, 

Vpon  that  labour  whan  he  caste  his  look, 

He  wolde  amende  it;   but  first  he  forsook  40 

Presumpcioun,  and  took  to  hym  meeknesse, 

In  his  prologe  as  he  doth  expresse. 

In  which  processe,  lik  as  I  am  lerid. 

He  in  his  tyme  off  cuwnyng  dede  excelle  44 

In  ther  language,  therfore  he  was  requerid 

Off  estatis,  which  gan  hym  eek  compelle, 

A-mong  hem  holde  off  rethorik  the  welle, 

To  vndirfonge  this  labour  they  hym  preie,  48 

And*  ther  request  he  lowli  dede  obeie. 

Ful  weel  he  felte  the  labour  was  notable, 

The  fall  of  nobles,  with  eueri  circumstauwce, 

From  ther  lordshippes,  dreedful  and  vnstable,  52 

How  that  thei  fill  to  putte  in  remembrauwce, 

Therin  to  shewe  Fortunys  variauwce, 

That  othre  myhte  as  in  a  merour  see 

In  worldly  worshepe  may  be  no  surete.  56 

Bi  exauwple,  as  there  is  no  rose 

Spryngyng  in  gardeyns,  but  ther  be  sum  thorn, 

Nor  fairer  blosme  than  Nature  list  dispose. 

Than  may  ther  beute,  as  men  ha[ue]  seyn  toforn,   60 

With  bittir  wyndes  be  fro  ther  braunchis  born, 

24.   ful]wolH,  well  R  3,  wel  P  —  out]om.H5.        46.   gan^canR. 
49.   And]  And  he  B  —  he]  om.  R  —  lowly  he  dide  J. 
58.   gardeyns]  gardyn  H.         61.   fro]  frome  H. 

BK.    l] 


Nor  noon  so  hih  in  his  estat  contune 
Fre  fro  thawaityng  &  daunger  of  Fortune. 

Wherfore  Bochas  for  a  memoriall,  64 

Consid[e]ryng  the  grete  dignitees 

Off  worldli  pryncis  in  ther  power  roiall, 

Grete  emperours,  estatis  and  degrees, 

How  Fortune  hath  cast  hem  from  ther  sees;  68 

/  Namly  such  as  koude  hemsilff  nat  knowe, 
\Ful  sodenly  to  make  hem  lyn  ful  lowe. 

This  said  auctour,  auise  and  riht  sad, 

Hath  gadred  out,  with  rethoriques  sueete,  72 

In  dyuers  bookes  which  that  he  hath  rad, 

Off  phihsophres  and  many  an  old  poete, 

Besied  hym  bothe  in  cold  and  hete* 

Out  to  compile  and  writen  as  he  fond  76 

The  fall  of  nobles  in  many  dyuers  lond. 

Vpon  whos  book  in  his  translacioun 

This  seid  Laurence  rehersith  in  certeyn, 

And  holdith  this  in  his  opynyoun,  80 

/  Such  language  as  open  is  and  pleyn 

y  Is  more  acceptid,  as  it  is  ofFte  seyn, 
Than  straunge  termys  which  be  nat  vndirstande, 
Namly  to  folkis  that  duellyn  vp-on  lande.  84 

And*  he  seith  eek,  that  his  entencioun  [p.  2] 

Is  to  a-menden,  correcten  and  declare; 

Nat  to  condempne  off  no  presumpcioun, 

But  to  supporte,  pleynli,  and  to  spare  88 

Thyng  touchid  shortly  off  the  story  bare, 

Vndir  a  stile  breeff  and  compendious. 

Hem  to  prolonge  whan  thei  be  vertuous: 

For  a  stor^"^  which  is  nat  pleynli  told,  92 

But  constreynyd  vndir  woordes  fewe 
For  lak  off  trouthe,  wher  thei  be  newe  or  old. 
Men  bi  report  kan  nat  the  mater  shewe; 
These  ookis  grete  be  nat  doun  ihewe  96 

First  at  a  strok[e],  but  bi  long  processe, 
( Nor  longe  stories  a  woord  may  not  expresse. 

Bochas  was 
the  original 

of  the  Fall 
of  Princes. 

held  that  !t 
is  good  to 
write  simply 
and  dearly. 

and  he  said 
that  he  would 
amplify  the 
story  wherever 

for  a  narrative 
must  not  be 
too  condensed. 

63.  fro3  frome  H  —  of  dawnger  &  H.       68.   from]  fro  R. 

75.  and]  and  in  B,  H,  &  eke  in  R  3.  - — 

85.  And]  As  B,  R,  —  eek]  also  J.       94.   newe]  yong  H. 

95.  report]  reprot  R. 

4  Prologue  [^bk.  i 

Rewrote  YoT  which,  plcynli,  this  noble  translatour 

Caste  off  purpos  these  stories  for  to  write,  loo 

And  for  to  doon  his  dilHgent  labour 

As  thei  fill  in  ordre  to  endite, 

That  men  afFtir  myhte  hemsilfF  delite, 

Auentures,  so  as  thei  fill  in  deede,  104 

Off  sundry  pryncis  to  beholde  &  reede, 

seeti^raiT^^  ,And  hauc  a  maner  contemplaciouw, 

"^  That  thynges  all,  wher  Fortune  may  atteyne, 
<.Be  transitory  of  condiciouw;  108 

For  she  off  kynde  is  hasti  &  sodeyne, 
Contrarious  hir  cours  for  to  restreyne. 
Off  wilfulnesse  she  is  so  variable,  m 

Whan  men  most  truste,  than  is  she  most  chauwgable. 

fs  deceitful!"''    And  for  hir  chaung  and  for  hir  doubilnesse. 

This  Bochas  biddith*  that  men  sholde  enclyne 

Sette  ther  hertis,  void  off  vnstabilnesse, 

Vpon  thynges  which  that  been  deuyne,  116 

Where-as  ioie  perpetueli  doth  shyne 

Withoute  eclipsyng  in  that  heuenli  see, 

Void  off  all  cloudis  off  mutabilite. 

see  that  all 
things  are 


we  must  set 
our  hearts  on 
divine  and 

bot'h  of  j!^^r*     Among,  this  Bochas  writith  off  suetnesse  120 

And  off  materes  that  lusti  been  and  glade, 
And  sumwhile  he  writt  off  wrechidnesse. 
And  how  Fortune  kan  floure  &  afftir  fade  — 
Ioie  vndir  cloude,  prosperite  in  the  shade,  124 

Entirchauwgyng  off  euery  maner  thyng, 
Which  that  men  feele,  heer  in  this  world  lyvyng. 

And  in  his  processe,  who-so  list  beholde. 

Off  alle  estatis,  off  hih  and  louh  degre,  128 

And  off  pryncis  bothe  yong  and  olde. 

Fro  the  begynnyng,  which  in  this  world  ha  be, 

Lyuyng  in  ioie  or  in  aduersite. 

Fro  the  firste  he  descendith  doun  i3« 

Off  ther  fortune  be  pleyn  descripcioun. 

Afim'a'Ifd ''''''  Off  the  most  noble  he  ne  spareth  noon, 
But  settith  hem  in  ordre  ceriously, 
Gynnyth  at  Adam  &  endith  at  kyng  lohn,  136 

;  joy 
and  sorrow 
and  of 

He  told  the 
story  of  all 

ending  with 
King  John 
of  France. 


1 14.   biddith]  bitt  B,  but  R,  bydde  H  5.     120.  writith]  writ  H. 
126.   heer  in  this  world  lyvyng]  in  this  world  her  lyvyng  H. 
129.  yong]  of  yong  H. 

BK.   l] 


Ther  auentures  rehersyng  by  and  by, 
Off  this  kyng  lohn  concludyng  fynaly, 
How  that  he  was,  for  al  his  gret  puissance, 
Off  prynce  Edward  take  prisoner  in  France. 

This  seid[e]  Bochas,  auctour  off  this  book, 
Which  off  stories  hadde  gret  intelligence, 
Summe  he  leffte  [and]  summe  also  he  took,  — 
Such  as  he  leffte  was  off  no  necligence, 
Supposyng  and  demyng  off  credence, 
Alle  the  stories  which  that  comoun  be, 
(Other  knew  hem  also  weel  as  he. 

And  lest  that  folk  wolde  haue  had  disdeyn, 
■^i:::^  Thynges  comoun  to  put  in  memorie,* 

Therfore  Bochas  thouhte  it  was  but  veyn. 
To  his  name  noon  encres  off  glorie, 
,  To  remembre  no  cronvcle  nor  historie, 




What  he  left 
out  is  of  (mall 

for  he  induded 
all  the  best 
and  most 

But  tho  that  wern  for  ther  merit  notable. 

I   Auctorised,  famous  and  comendable. 

In  his  labour  hauyng  a  delit, 
That  the  mater  gretli  myhte  auaile. 
Do  plesance  to  the  comon  profit. 
Off  noble  stories  to  make  rehersaile, 
Shewyng  a  meroz^r  how  al  the  world  shal  faile, 
And  how  Fortune,  for  al  ther  hih  renouw, 
Hath  vpon  pryncis  iurediccioun. 

The  which[e]  thyng,  in  ful  sobre  wise. 

He  considred  in  his  inward  entent. 

In  his  resoun  gan  to  aduertise, 

Seyng  off  princis  the  blynd  entendement. 

With  worldli  worshep  how  that  thei  be  blent, 

As  thei  sholde  euer  ther  estatis  keepe. 

And  as  Fortune  were  I-leid  to  sleepe. 

As  thei  hadde  off  Fortune  the  maistry. 

Here  enchauntid  with  ther  pociouns 

Bi  sum  craft  off  newe  sorcery. 

Or  bi  power  off  incantaciouns, 

To  make  stable  ther  domynaciouns 

With  iren  cheynys  for  to  laste  longe^    - 

Lokkid  to  rokkis  off  adamantis  stronge. 

137.  rehersyng]  reh^rsith  H.        148.   folk]  folkej  R  3. 
149,  etc.   memoire,  gloire,  histoire  B. 
163.   considred]  considrith  H. 



shewing  as  in 
a  mirror  how 
Fortune  is 

over  Princes, 



[p.  3] 


believe,  in 
their  pride, 
that  they  are 
her  masters. 


[bk.  I 

But  Fortune 
often  casts 
them  down. 

Some  Princes 
even  set  God 
at  nought. 

but  He 


some  with 
sickness,  others 
with  adversity. 

believed  that 
it  is  right  to 
hold  before 
the  vicious 
examples  of 
those  who  fell; 


Supposyng[e]  in  ther  surquedie 
Ther  estatis  sholde  be  durable; 
But  Fortune  kan  frowardli  denye, 
Pleynli  preue  that  thai  be  chauwgable, 
And  to  pryncis,  for  thel  be  nat  stable, 
Fortune  ful  ofFte,  for  al  ther  gret  estat, 
Vnwarll  chauwgith  &  seith  to  hem  ^chekmat 

i^or  lordis  summe  in  ther  magnificence 
<^Off  roial  power  sette  off  God  riht  nouht, 
Thei  nat  considre  his  long  pacience, 
Nor  aduertise  his  power  in  ther  thouht, 
But  in  ther  hertis,  yiff  it  were  weel  souht, 
How  he  is  meek  and  pacient  to  a-bide, 
Thei  wolde  off  resoun  ther  pompe  leyn  a-side. 

But  for  ther  tarieng  and  ther  necligence, 
That  thei  to  hym  wil  nat  resorte  a-geyn, 
Yit  off  his  mercy  and  benyuolence, 
Withoute  vengance,  rigour  or  disdeyn, 
As  a  meek  fadir,  in  alle  his  werkis  pleyn, 
Assaieth  his  yerde  off  castigaciouw, 
So  for  to  brynge  hem  to  correccioun. 

Suwme  he  can  ful  fadirli  chastise, 
Where  he  loueth,  be  punshyng  off  siknesse. 
And  off  his  mercy  in  many  a-nother  wise 
Baduersite*  off  sum  worldll  distresse; 
(And  he  nat  asklth,  for  his  kynd[e]nesse, 
'  Off  hih  nor  low,  who-so  can  aduerte, 
-/Noon  othir  tresor  but  a  manwys  herte. 

And  as  myn  auctour  list  to  comprehende,  — 
This  lohn  Bochas,  bi  gret  auctorlte,  — 
■  It  Is  almesse  to  correct*  and  a-mende 
The  vicious  folk  off  euery  comouwte. 
And  bi  exauwplis  which  that  notable  be 
Off  pryncis  olde,  that  whilom  dede  fall. 
The  lowere  peeple  from  ther  errour  call. 

Bi  smale  whelpis,  as  suwme  clerkis  write. 

Chastised  is  the  myhti  fers  \eoun, 

And  whan  the  suerd  off  vengauwce  eek  doth  bite 



A'iu»v«-c  lv,M«aj(^ 





184.  rihtnoulit  B,  R.         186.   auertise  R. 

198.  ponysshyng  H,  punysshyng  R  3,  punishyng  H  J. 

200.  Baduersite]  Bathuersite  B,  Bi  adiiersite  R. 

201.  his]  om.  R.       206.   correct]  correctyn  B. 

BK.    l] 





Vpon  prjTicis  for  ther  transgressioun, 

The  comon  peeple  in  ther  opynyouw, 

For  verray  dreed[e]  tremble  don*  &  quake,  216 

And  bl  such  mene  ther  vices  thei  forsake. 

And  such  also  as  ha  be  defoulid 

In  ther  vicis  bi  long  contynuaunce, 

Or  in  ther  sjTinys  rustid  and  ImowHd,  220 

Bi  good  example  may  come  to  repentaurzce: 

Who  hym  repentith,  the  Lord  will  hym  auauTice, 

And  hym  accepte,  in  hih  and  louh  estat,  — 

The  meek  preserue,  punyshe  the  obstynat. 

This  said[e]  mater,  touchyng  such[e]  thyngis, 
Myn  auctour  Bochas  heerafftir  shal  declare 
Bexaumple  off  pryncis  &  off  myhti  kyngis, 
\Miat  was  ther  fyn,  &  nat  the  trouthe  spare; 
And  theih  my  stile  nakid  be  and  bare, 
In  rethorik  myn  auctour  for  to  sue, 
Yit  fro  the  trouthe  shal  I  nat  remue, 

But  on  the  substance  bi  good  leiser  abide,  232 

AiFtir  myn  auctour  lik  as  I  may  atteyne, 
And  for  my  part  sette  eloquence  aside. 
And  in  this  book  bewepen  and  compleyne 
Thassaut  off  Fortune,  froward  and  sodeyne,  236 

How  she  on  pr^'ncis  hath  kid  her  variaurzce 
And  off  her  malice  the  dedli  mortal  chaunce. 

But,  o  alias!  who  shal  be  my  muse, 
Or  onto  whom  shal  I  for  helpe  calle?  240 

Calliope  my  callyng  will  refuse. 
And  on  Pernaso  here  worthi  sustren  alle; 
Thei  will  ther  sugre  tempre  with  no  galle, 
•  For  ther  suetnesse  &  lusti  fressh  syngyng  244 

Ful  ferr  discordith  fro  materis  compleynyng. 

My  maistir  Chaucer,  with  his  fresh  comedies. 

Is  ded,  alias,  cheefF  poete  off  Breteyne, 

That  whilom  made  ful  pitous  tragedies;  248 

The  fall  of  pryncis  he  dede  also  compleyne,         tKvio 

As  he  that  was  of  makyng  souereyne, 

Whom  al  this  land  sholde  off  riht  preferre, 

Sithe  off  oure  language  he  was  the  lodesterre.         252 

216.   don]]  doun  B,  R,  a  dour.  J.       217.    mene]  menys  H. 

229.   nakid]  nake  H. 

251.   sholde  off  rihtj  of  right  oujt  J. 

for  if  Princes 
are  chastised, 
so  much  the 
more  ought 
the  commons 
to  dread  a 
like  fate. 

Even  hardened 
sinners  may  be 
brought  to 
repentance  by 
g>3d  eiamole. 

My  style  is 
bare  of 

but  I  will 
deal  faithfully 
with  my 

I  have  no 
Muse:  my 
subject  is  too 
doleful  for 
the  Sisters  of 
Mt.  Parnassus, 

and  Chaascii.  . 
alas,  fs  dead.  { 
the  lodestar  \ 
of  our  /' 

language.         ' 


Other  men, 
too,  wrote 
Seneca,  Tully, 
and  Francis 
Petrarch,  who 

made  a  book 
of  Two 

John  Bochas 
told  how 
Princes  fell 
into  distress. 

All  praise  to 
my  master 
Chaucer,  who 
refined  our 

He  wrote 




Prologue  []bk.  I 

Senek  in  Rome,  thoruh  his  hih  prudence,  [p.  4] 

Wrot  tragedies  of  gret  moralite; 

And  Tullius,  cheefF  welle  off  eloquence, 

Maad  in  his  tyme  many  fressh  dite;  256 

Franceis  Petrak,  off  Florence  the  cite, 

Made  a  book,  as  I  can  reherce, 

Off  too  Fortunys,  welful  and  peruerse. 

And  ageyn  bothe  wrot  the  remedies,  260 

In  bookis  tweyne  made  a  divisiouw, 

A-mong  rehersyng  many  fressh  stories. 

The  firste  book  is  thus  conueied  dou«, 

A  dialoge  twen  Gladnesse  and  Resoun;  264 

The  seconde  can  ber  me  weel  witnesse, 

Maad  atwen  Resoun  &  Worldli  Heuynesse. 

The  mater  is  wondirful  delectable, 

Thouh  wo  with  ioie  haue  an  interesse;  268 

And  lohn  Bochas  wrot  maters  lamentable, 

The  fall  of  pryncis,  where  he  doth  expresse 

How  fro  ther  ioie  thei  fill  in  gret  distresse; 

And  all  these  writers,  thoruh  ther  famous  renouw,  272 

Gret  worshipe  dede  vnto  ther  naciouw. 

And  semblabli  as  I  ha[ue]  told  toforn. 

My  maistir  Chaucer  dede  his  besynesse. 

And  in  his  dales  hath  so  weel  hym  born,  276 

Out  off  our  tunge  tauoiden  al  reudnesse. 

And  to  refourme  it  with  colours  of  suetnesse; 

Wherfore  lat  us  yiue  hym  laude  &  glory 

And  putte  his  name  with  poetis  in  memory.  280 

Off  whos  labour  to  make  mencioun, 

Wherthoruh  off  riht  he  sholde  comendid  be, 

In  youthe  he  made  a  translacioun 

Off  a  book  which  callid  is  Trophe  284 

In  Lumbard  tunge,  as  men  may  reede  &  see. 

And  in  our  vulgar,  longe  or  that  *  he  deide, 

Gaff  it  the  name  off  Troilus  &  Cresseide. 

Which  for  to  reede  louers  hem  delite,  288 

Thei  ha[ue]  theryn  so  gret  deuocioun. 
And  this  poete,  hymsilff  also  to  quite, 

263.  thus]]  thus  first  H.      267.  wondirful]  riht  wondir  H. 

268.   an  interesse]  intresse  R. 

284.  caliid  is]  is  callid  R.      286.  that]  than  B,  R. 

BK.   l] 


Off  Boeces  book,  The  Consolacioun, 

Maad  in  his  tyme  an  hool  translacioun.  292 

And  to  his  sone,  that  callid  was  Lowis, 

He  made  a  tretis,  ful  noble  &  off  gret  pris, 

Vpon  thastlabre  in  ful  notable  fourme, 

Sette  hem  in  ordre  with  ther  dyuysiouns,  296 

Mennys  wittis  tapplien  and  confourme. 

To  vndirstonde  be  ful  expert  resouns 

Be  domefieng  off  sundry  mansiouns, 

The  roote  out-souht  at  the  ascendent,  3cx5 

Toforn  or  he  gaff  any  iugement. 

He  wrot  also  ful  many  day  agone, 

Dante  in  Inglissh,  hymsilff  so  doth  expresse, 

The  pitous  story  off  Ceix  and  Alcione,  304 

And  the  deth  eek  of  Blaunche  the  Duchesse, 

And  notabli  dede  his  bisynesse, 

Bi  gret  auys  his  wittis  to  dispose, 

To  translate  the  Romaunce  off  the  Rose.  308 

Thus  in  vertu  he  sette  al  his  entent, 

Idilnesse  and  vicis  for  to  fle; 

Off  Foulis  also  he  wrot  the  Parlement, 

Theryn  remembryng  of  roial  Eglis  thre,  312 

How  in  ther  chois  thei  felte  aduersite, 

Tofor  Nature  profred  the  bataile, 

Ech  for  his  parti,  yiff  it  wolde  auaile. 

He  dede  also  his  dilligence  &  peyne  316 

In  our  vulgar  to  translate  and  endite 

Origen  vpon  the  Maudeleyne, 

And  off  the  Leoun  a  book  he  dede  write; 

Off  Anneleyda*  and  of  fals  Arcite  320 

He  made  a  compleynt,  doolful  &  pitous, 

And  off  the  broche  which  that  Vulcanus 

At  Thebes  wrouhte,  ful  dyuers  of  nature, 

Ouide  writith,  who  theroff  hadde  a  siht,  324 

For  hih  desir  he  shulde  nat  endure 

But  he  it  hadde,  neuer  be  glad  nor  liht; 

And  yiff  he  hadde  it  onys  in  his  myht, 

292.  an]]  &  R.       294.    The  last  two  Utters  of  pris  torn  off  H. 
303.  Dante]  Dant  H.      305.  eek]  also  H. 
312.   remembryng]  memebr\-ng  R.       318.   mawgdeleyne  H. 
320.   Anneleyda]  Anneloyda   B,   H   5,   Anneleida   R,   H,    P, 
annelida  J.        328.  writ]  wrott  R. 

He  made  a 
treatise  on 
the  Astrolabe 
for  his  tea 

from  Dante 
and  wrote 
Celx  and 
The  Deth  of 
The  Romaunt 
of  the  Rose, 

The  Parlement 
of  Foules, 

Origen  on 
The  Book  of 
the  Lion, 
Anelida  and 
Fals  Arc>te, 
the  story  of 
the  brooch 
that  Vulcan 



[bk.  I 

The  I.egende 
of  Good 

p   :y 



the  stories  of 
Melibeus  in 
and  The 
Monk's  Tale, 

and  many 
and  songs. 

Poets  used 
to  be  the 
of  kings. 

Lich  as  my  maistir  seith  and  writ  in  deede,  328 

It  to  conserue  he  sholde  ay  lyue  in  dreede. 

This  poete  wrot,  at  request  off  the  queen, 

A  legende  off  parfit  hoolynesse, 

Off  Goode  Women  to  fynde  out  nynteen  332 

That  dede  excelle  in  bouwte  and  fairnesse; 

But*  for  his  labour  and  [his]  bisynesse 

Was  inportable  his  wittis  to  encoumbre, 

In  al  this  world  to  fynde  so  gret  a  nouwbre.  336 

He  made  the  book  off  Cantirburi  Talis,  [p.  5] 

Whan  the  pilgrymis  rood  on  pilgrymage 

Thoruhout  Kent  bi  hillis  and  bi  valis, 

And  alle  the  stories  told  in  ther  passage,  340 

Enditid  hem  ful  weel  in  our  language: 

Sumwe  off  knyhthod,  summe  off  gentilesse, 

And  summe  off  loue  &  sumwe  off  parfitnesse, 

And  suwme  also  off  gret  moralite,  344 

Suwme  off  disport,  includynge  gret  sentence. 

In  prose  he  wrot  the  Tale  off  Melibe, 

And  off  his  wiff,  that  callid  was  Prudence, 

And  off  Grisildis*  parfit  pacience,  348 

And  how  the  Monk  off  stories  newe  &  olde 

Pitous  tragedies  be  the  weie  tolde. 

This  said  poete,  my  maistir  in  his  daies, 

Maad  and  compiled  ful  many  a  fressh  dite,  352 

Compleyntis,  baladis,  rouwdelis,  virelaies 

Ful  delectable  to  heryn  and  to  see. 

For  which  men  sholde,  off  riht  and  equite, 

Sithe  he  off  Inglissh  in  makyng  was  the  beste,        356 

Preie  onto  God  to  yiue  his  soule  good  teste. 

And  these  poetis  I  make  off  menciouw. 

Were  bi  old  tyme  had  in  gret  deynte. 

With  kyngis,  pryncis  in  euery  regiouw,  360 

Gretli  preferrid  afftir  ther  degre; 

For  lordis  hadde  plesance  for  to  see. 

To  studie  a-mong,  and  to  caste  ther  lookis 

At  good[e]  leiser  vpon  wise  bookis.  364 

334.   But]  And  B.       342.   2nd  summe]  &  summe  R. 
345.    encludyng  R.       348.   Gresildes  B. 
352.   a]  oTtt.  H.      357.   good]  owi.  R. 

BK.    l] 



For  in  the  tyme  ofF  Cesar  lulius, 

Whan  the  tryumphe  he  wan  in  Rome  town, 

He  entre  wolde  the  scoole  off  Tullius 

And  heere  his  lecture  ofFgret  aiFeccioun;  368 

And  natwithstandyng  his  conquest  &  renou;z, 

Vnto  bookis  he  gafF  gret  attendaunce 

And  hadde  in  stories  ioie  and  gret  pleasu7zce. 

Eek  in  this  land,  I  dar  afFerme  a  thyng:  372 

There  is  a  prynce  ful  myhti  ofF  puissauwce, 

A  kyngis  sone  and  vncle  to  the  kyng 

Henry  the  Sexte,  which  is  now  in  Fraunce, 

And  is  lieftenant,  and  hath  the  gouernaunce  376 

OfF  our  Breteyne,  thoruh  whos  discrecioun 

He  hath  conserued  in  this  regioun, 

Duryng  his  tyme,  ofF  ful  hih  prudence. 

Pes  and  quiete  and  sustened  riht,  380 

Yit  natwithstandyng  his  noble  prouidence, 

He  is  in  deede  proued  a  good[e]  knyht, 

Eied  as  Argus  with  resoun  and  forsiht; 

OfF  hih  lettrure,  I  dar  eek  ofF  hym  telle,  384 

And  treuli  deeme  that  he  doth  excelle 

In  vndirstondyng  alle  othir  off  his  age, 

And  hath  gret  ioie  with  clerkis  to  comune: 

And  no  man  is  mor  expert  off  language,  388 

Stable  in  study  alwey  he  doth  contune, 

Settyng  a-side  alle  chaungis  of  Fortune; 

And  wher  he  loueth,  yiff  I  shal  nat  tarie, 

Withoute  cause  ful  loth  he  is  to  varie.  392 

Due  off  Gloucestre  men  this  prynce  calle, 

And  natwithstandyng  his  staat  &  dignite, 

His  corage  neuer  doth  appalle 

To  studie  in  bookis  off  antiquite,  396 

Therin  he  hath  so  gret  felicite 

Vertuously  hymsilff  to  ocupie. 

Off  vicious  slouthe  to  haue  the  maistrie. 

And  with  his  prudence  and  with  his  manheed,        400 
Trouthe  to  susteene  he  fauour  set  a-side. 
And  hooli  chirch[e]  meyntenyng  in  deed. 


listened  to 
■  teaching. 

In  this 
there  is  a 
Prince,  a 
gcxxl  kniiiht. 

who  excels 
all  in 

and  loves  to 
be  with 
scholars  and 
read  their 

374.    to]  vn  to  H. 
376.    lefFtenaunt  H. 

369.  renoun]  gret  Rcnourt  H. 

375.  Henry]  Herry  H,  Henri  J 

382.  goode]  riht  good  H. 

384.  lettrure]  lectrure  B,  R,  lettur  R  3,  lecture  P 

400.  2nd  with]  wit  R. 

He  is  the 
Duke  of 

a  man  who 
upholds  the 
church  and 
tolerates  no 



[bk.  I 


\  \  »-'• 

manly  and 
wise,  he  is  a 
foe  to  all 

He  knew  the 
book  of 

and  bade  me 
translate  it 
into  English, 

which  I  will 
do,  although 

That  in  this  land  no  Lollard  dar  abide  — 

As  verray  support,  vpholdere  and  eek  guide  404 

Sparith  noon,  but  maketh  hymsiluen  strong 

To  punysshe  all  tho  that  do  the  chirch[e]  wrong. 

Thus  is  he  bothe  manli  and  eek  wis, 

Chose  off  God  to  been  his  owyn  knyht,  408 

And  off  o  thyng  he  hath  a  synguler  pris, 

That  heretik  dar  noon  come*  in  his  siht, 

In  Cristis  feith  he  stant  so  hool  vpriht. 

Off  hooli  chirche  diffence  and  champioun,  412 

To  chastise  alle  that  do  therto  tresouw. 

And  to  do  plesauwce  to  our  lord  I^ju, 

He  studieth  euere  to  haue  intelligence; 

Reedyng  off  bookis  bryngith  in  vertu,  416 

Vices  excludyng,  slouthe  and  necligence, 

Makith  a  prynce  to  haue  experience, 

To  knowe  hymsilff,  in  many  sundri  wise, 

Wher  he  trespasith  his  errour  to  chastise.  420 

And  a-mong  bookis,  pleynli  this  the  cas,  [p.  6] 

This  said[e]  prynce  considred  off  resoun, 

The  noble  book  off  this  lohn  Bochas 

Was,  accordyng  in  his  opynyoun,  424 

Off  gret  noblesse  and  reputaciouw. 

And  onto  pryncis  gretli  necessarie 

To  yiue  exauwple  how  this  world  doth  varie. 

And  for  this  cause,  as  in  his  entent,  428 

To  shewe  thuntrust  off  al  worldli  thyng. 

He  gaff  to  me  in  comaundement, 

As  hym  sempte  it  was  riht  weel  sittyng, 

That  I  shulde,  afftir  my  cuwnyng,  432 

This  book  translate,  hym  to  do  plesaunce, 

To  shewe  the  chauwg  off  worldli  variaunce. 

And  with  support  off  his  magnificence, 

Vndir  the  wyngis  off  his  correccioun,  436 

Thouh  that  I  haue  lak  off  eloquence, 

I  shal  procede  in  this  translacioun. 

Fro  me  auoidyng  al  presumpcioun, 

Lowli  submyttyng  eueri  hour  &  space  440 

Mi  reud  language  to  my  lordis  grace. 

409.   o]  oon  H.  410.   come]  comcn  B,  R. 

415.    studieth]  studieht  R.       421.    this]  this  is  R,  J. 
428.   this  cause]  |)ise  causes  J,  these  causes  P. 

BK.   0 

The  Story  of  Adam  and  Eve 


And  as  I  haue  o  thyng  weel  in  mynde, 

He  bad  me  I  sholde  in  especiall, 

Folwyng  myn  auctour,  writen  as  I  fynde,  444 

And  for  no  fauour  be  nat  parciall  — 

Thus  I  meene  to  speke  in  generall, 

And  noon  estat  syngulerly  depraue, 

But  the  sentence  off  myn  auctour  saue,  448 

Al  this  conceyuyd,  I  gan  my  stile  dresse, 

Thouhte  I  wolde  in  my  mater  proceede; 

And  for  the  mater  abraid  on  heuynesse, 

Off  fressh  colours  I  took  no  maner  heede,  452 

But  my  processe  pleynli  for  to  leede, 

As  me  sempte  it  was  to  me  most  meete 

To  sette  apart  all  rethoriques  sueete. 

Dites  of  mumyng  and  off  compleynynge  456 

Nat  appertene  onto  Calliope, 

Nor  to  the  Muses,  that  on  Parnaso  synge, 

Which  be  remembrid  in  nouwbre  thries  thre; 

And  onto  materes  off  aduersite,  460 

With  ther  sugred  aureat  licour 

Thei  be  nat  willi  for  to  doon  fauour; 

But  off  disdeyn  me  settyng  ferr  a-bak 

To  hyndre  me*  ofF  that  I  wolde  endite,  464 

Hauyng  no  colours  but  onli  whit  &  blak, 

To  the  tragedies  which  that  I  shal  write. 

And  for  I  can  my-silff  no  bet  acquite, 

Vndir  support  off  all  that  shal  it  reede,  468 

Vpon  Bochas  riht  thus  I  will  proceede. 

Explicit  prologus. 

I  will  follow 
my  author 
and  shew 
no  biai. 

and.  at  my 
matter  is 
serious,  I 
shall  omit  all 

Calliope  and 
her  Sisters 
cannot  help 
me  write  of 

so  I  will  do 
my  best  in 
simple  black 
and  white. 

Incipit  Liber  Primus. 

[|How  adam  and  Eue  for  theire  inobedience  were 
putout  of  paradis  lyued  in  sorowe  and 
woo/thei  and  theire  of  spryng.]^ 

Whan  lohn  Bochas  considred  hadde  &  souht  [p.8] 
The  woful  fall  off  myhti  conquerours, 
A  remembraunce  entrid  in  his  thouht,  472 

Reknyng  the  noumbre  off  our  pr^decessours, 
And  first  to  mynde  cam  the  progenitours 

463.  ferr]  fast  H.  464.   me]  men  B,  R. 

1  MS.  J.  leaf  3  b. 

Adam  and 
Eve  first 
appear  before 

14  The  Story  of  Adam  and  Eve 

%lTvtl^t  Off  al  mankynde,  ferre  Ironne  in  age, 


old  age. 

And  toward  hym  holdyng  the  passage, 

As  hym  thouhte  in  his  inward  siht, 
In  ther  comyng  ful  pitousli  tremblyng, 
Quakyng  for  age  and  for  lak  off  myht, 
Ther  gret  feeblesse  be  signes  out  shewyng; 
And  oon  off  hem,  first  at  his  comyng  — 
Our  fadir  Adam  —  sodenH  abraide, 
And  to  myn  auctour  euene  thus  he  saide: 




Adam  said, 
"It  is  right 
that  you 
should  begin 
with  us. 

"The  Serpent 
caused  our 
exile  from 

Fairest  of 
all  creatures 
were  they; 

God  gave 
them  the 
Garden  of 

[How  Adam  &  Eue  stondyng/naked  before  Bochas 
desired  him  to  put  theire  woful  fall  first  in 
remembraunce.]  ^ 

"Cosyn  Bochas,  I  will  weel  that  thou  lere,  484 

Thou  that  art  besi  to  serche  ouer  all 

Off  infortune  the  maner  to  enquere, 

Hir  sodeyn  chaung,  turnyng  as  a  ball, 

Off  erthli  pryncis  from  ther  estat  roiall  —  488 

It  is  most  sittyng,  or  we  assundir  twynne, 

At  vs  tweyne  thi  processe  to  be-gynne. 

Considre  first,  the  Lord  in  his  auis, 

Whan  he  us  made  onto  his  liknesse,  492 

He  putte  vs  bothe  into  Paradis, 

There  talyued  in  parfit  stabilnesse  — 

Til  the  Serpent  dede  his  besynesse 

Off^fals  envie  to  make  us  lese  our  grace,  496 

Perpetueir  texile  us  fro  that  place." 

And  whan  lohn  Bochas  nakid  hem  beheeld, 

Withoute  the  hand  fourmyd  off  Nature,  — 

Off  slym  off  therthe  in  Damascene  the  feeld  500 

God  made  hem  fairest  a-boue  ech  creature; 

And  for  thei  sholde  perpetueli  endure, 

Bi  discrecioun  for  a  prerogatiff 

He  endued  hem  with  a  soule  off  liff.  504 

Parfit  off  age  as  man  off  thretti  yeerp^ 
Putte  hem  afftir  in  possessioun 
Off  Paradis,  a  place  most  enteer, 

485]    That  art  so  besi  to  serche  oueral  J  —  serchel  serch  out 

H,  P,  R  3. 
486.   maner^  mateer  H  —  Inquere  H.         504.    HeJ  om.  H. 
^  MS.  J.  leaf  3  c.  in  margin. 

BK.    l] 

The  Slory  of  Adara  and  Eve 


'j^\  V  0\ 

And  ofFdelicis  a  chose  mansioun,  508 

Where  Adam  made  an  imposicioun 

To  fissh  and  foul,  and  to  thes  beestis  all, 

OflF  verray  resoun  what  men  sholde  hem  call. 

Out  off  a  rib,  whil  that  Adam  sleep,  512 

Eue  was  drawe,  ful  fair  off  hir  visage, 

Al  sodenly  or  that*  he  took  keep, 
,  AiFtir  to  hym  ioynyd  in  mariage 
\Por  his  disport  and  his  auantage,  516 

So  as  the  Lord  first  wyues  dede  ordeyne 

Outher  for  helpe  or  for  encres  off  peyne. 

God  onto  hem  gafF  the  souereynte 

Off  Paradis  and  dominacioun, 

A  place  fulfellid  off  al  felicite. 

The  frutis  all  in  ther  subieccioun, 

SaufF  that  off  oon  was  maad  excepcioun, 

Which  God  forbad,  the  Bible  can  deuise,  524 

That  thei  sholde  touche  it  in  no  wise. 

All  delices  off  that  heuenli  place 
God  gaff  to  hem  and  put  in  her  kepyng, 
To  vsen  hem  eueri  hour  and  space  528 

To  ther  most  ese,  as  was  to  hem  likyng  — 
Bloomys,  blosmys,  ther  faimesse  ay  hauyng, 
And  the  frutis  alway  off  o  fresshnesse, 
•For  wyntir  stormys  myht  do  hem  no  duresse.         532 

The  soil  enbroudid  ful  off  somer  flour<fs, 

Wher  weedis  wikke  hadde  noon  interesse; 

For  God  and  Kynde  with  fresshnesse  off  colour^fs 

And  with  ther  tapitis  &  motles  off  gladnesse  536 

Had  maad  that  place  habounde  in  al  suetnesse; 

And  fressh[e]  Flora,  which  is  off  floures  queene, 

Hir  lyuere  made  off  a  perpetuel  greene. 

The  trees  rauhten  almost  to  the  heuene,  540 

Which  cast  a-boute  a  ful  plesant  shade. 
That  storm  nor  reyn,  thundir,  wynd  nor  leuene 
No  power  hadde  ther  leuys  for  to  fade: 

and  for 
Eve  was 
created,  and 
his  wife. 

All  fruits  in 
that  beautiful 

were  theirs 
save  one. 

and  all  the 
delights  of 
that  heavenly 
place  were 
given  into 
their  keeping. 

The  soil  was 

with  flowers, 

and  the  trees 
grew  up 
almost  to 
the  sky. 

508.  delicisj]  delites  H,  delitis  J,  delitti?.)-  R  3,  delites  H  5,  P. 

509.  an]  om.  R.   514.  that]  than  B,  H. 
516.  and]  and  for  H. 

521.  fulfillid  H,  fulfild  J. 

526.  delices]  delites  H,  H  5,  delitt<rj  R  3,  delicis  J,  delices  P. 

538.  which]  whilk  H.       541.   abouten  R,  H. 


But  they 
foolishly  ate 
the  fruit  of 
the  Tree  of 

against  God'i 

and  brought 
evil  into  the 

There  were 
three  rivers 
in  Paradise, 

The  Story  of  Adam  and  Eve  [bk.  i 

For  euer  thei  wern  Illch[e]  fressh  and  glade;  544 

And  whan  thei  list,  ther  thei  myhte  see 
Mid  off  that  gardyn  off  lifF  the  holsum  tre, 

Which  vertu  hadde  ageyn  al  maladie 

Folk  to  preserue  off  youthe  in  ther  fresshnesse^      548 

Who  eet  therofF  sholde  neuer  deie, 

But  lyuen  euere  in  ioie  and  in  gladnesse, 

And  nouther  feele  trouble  nor  siknesse, 

But  in  that  place  haue  alwey  hertis  ese  552 

And  suffisauwce  off  al  that  myht  hym  plese, 

Euer  endure  and  neuer  falle  in  age,  [p.  9] 

For  which  it  was  callid  the  tre  off  liff. 

But  whan  Adam  was  fallyn  in  dotage  556 

And  ageyn[es]  God  gan  holdyn  striflF, 

Thoruh  excityng  off  hir  that  was  his  wifF, 
'::"  And  wilfuUi  gaff  to  hir  assent 
^ .  To  breke  the  precept  &  comandement  560 

^   Off  God  the  Lord,  thoruh  wilful  necligence, 
■    Taproche  the  tre,  which  that  bar  the  name, 
The  tre  off  cunnyng  and  also  off  science: 
For  off  the  frut  who  that  dede  attame,  564 

He  sothli  sholde,  the  Bible  seith  the  same, 
/  Off  good  &  euell  haue  cuwnyng  in  his  thouht, 
\_Where-as  tofforn  off  euyl  he  knew  riht  nouht. 

Thus  hadde  thei  first  off  euyl  experience,  568 

Where-as  toforn  thei  knew  no  wikkidnesse; 

Presumpciouw  and  inobedience 

Brouht  hem  fro  ioie  into  wrechidnesse: 

For  afor-tyme,  myn  auctour  berth  witnesse,  572 

Helthe  and  goodnesse  wer  callid  verray  liff, 

Euyl  namyd  siknesse,  first  roote  of  al  our  striff. 

In  Paradis,  myn  auctour  seith  certeyn, 

Thre  ryuers  wern,  so  orient  and  fyne,  576 

Lich  quyksiluyr  vpboilyng  on  the  pleyn. 

And  in  ther  rennyng  verray  cristallyne, 

Which  from  a  welle  heuenli  and  deuyne 

550.   2nd  in]  om.  H.       553.   hym]  hem  R. 

557.  ageynes  God  gan  holdyn]  ageyn  God  began  to  holden  J, 
ayenst  God  gan  to  holden  P. 

558.  excityng]  encityng  R.       559.   gaflF]  he  yaue  P. 

562.  bar]  here  R.      574.   Euyl]  111  R  3  —  namyd]  namy  R. 

BK.   l] 

The  Story  of  Adam  and  Eve 


air,  all  manner 
of  herbs  and 
spices,  and 
the  sound 
of  birds 

The  sun  shone 
brighter  then 
than  it  does 

In  ther  vpspryngyng  and  ther  aualyng  doun  580 

Off  al  plesance  gafF  so  soote  a  soun,* 

That  it  wolde  rauysshe  a  corage,  — 

Whos  bawmy  licour  endued  al  the  place, 

And  with  the  fresshnesse  &  cours  off  his  passage   584 

The  holsum  hair  hertis  dede  embrace,  — 

Ther  was  such  plente  off  plesance  &  off  grace. 

That  eueri  spice,  herbe,  greyn  and  roote 

Wer  founde  growyng  in  that  gardeyn  soote.  588 

Ther  was  also  a  delectable  soun 

Off  song  off  birdis  in  ther  armonye^ 

The  hair  was  cleene  from  arcofupcioun, 

For  ther  engendrid  was  no  maladie;  593 

Ther  was  al  merthe,  ther  was  al  melodie, 

OfFioie  and  blisse  ^ouereyn  suflSsance,       i,  f^--    >,tf,   ■''''   *^^^'" 

With  al  that  may  toTiertis  do  plesance. 

And  off  clerkis  lik  as  it  is  told  596 

In  ther  bookis,  as  thei  determyne, 

How  in  his  speer  the  sonne  manyfold 

Was  off  mor  vertu  &  mor  cleer  dede  shyne 

Than  it  doth  now  in  his  mydday  lyne,  600 

The  moone  whittere  with  hir*  bemys  cleer, 

And  euery  sterre  brihtere  dede  appeer. 

Euery  thyng  was  there  more  vertuous 

Than  thei  be  now,  who  can  beholde  and  see;  604 

For  in  that  place  ther  was  nothyng  noious. 

But  parfit  gladnesse  knet  onto  surete, 

Perpetuel  pes,  ioie  and  prosperite, 

And  in  that  blisse  to  makyn  hem  mor  strong,        608 

To  ther  confort  God  spak  with  hem  a-mong. 

CMF  his  goodnesse  he  bar  hem  cumpanye, 

Shewed  onto  hem  his  gracious  presence, 

Angelis  also  ther  staat  to  magnefie  612 

A-mong  to  serue  hem  dede  ther  dilligence 

In  dyuers  offices  with  humble  reuerence, 

And  Nature  wrouhte  for  the  nonys 

Off  roial  purpill  and  off  riche  stonys  616 

Tissues  off  gold  and  othir  omamentis 
For  tenvirowne  ther  bodili  beute, 

581.   so  soote  a  soun]  a  soote  soun  B,  R.       585.   enbrace  H. 
601,   hir]  his  B,  R,  R  3.  603.  vertous  R. 

617.   omamentis]  precious  stonys  R  (m  another  band). 

and  there  was 
peace  and  jof . 

God  often 
appeared  to 
Adam  and 
Eve,  and 
angels  served 


The  Story  of  Adam  and  Eve 

[bk.  I 

They  could 
have  lived 
there  always 
in  celestial 

had  not  Adam 
given  credence 
to  a  Snake. 

Their  fall 
was  the  more 

for  It  followed 

Take  example 
of  Adam 
and  Eve, 

Shapyng  to  hem  such  maner  garnementis 

As  angeHs  vsen  in  ther  felicite  —  620 

Nakid  thei  wer[e]n  fairest  on  to  see; 

For  whil  thei  stood  in  staat  off  innocence, 

Thei  hadde  off  clothyng  noon  experience. 

And  off  ther  bHsse  to  make  menciou«,  624 

And  off  ther  ioies  that  were  celestiall, 

Ther  may  be  maad[e]  no  comparisoun 

Off  no  ioie  which  is  temporall, 

Which  sholde  ha  been  lastynge  &  inmortall,  628 

Euer  talyued  in  merthe  and  in  gladnesse, 

SaufF  ageyn  resoun,  off  verray  wilfulnesse 

Thei  banshid  hemsilff  out  of  that  bhsful  HfF, 

Whan  Adam  gafF  credence  to  a  snake  632 

And  wrechidH  gan  trustyn  on  his  wifF,  V    -^>A  «  <  ■ 

Which  gan  thappill  off  the  Serpent  take, 

And  plesantli  dede  a  present  make 

Onto  Adam,  as  she  that  ferst  began  636 

Deth  to  deuyse  and  poisoun  onto  man. 

But  as  ther  ioie  was  incomparable,  [p.  10] 

Grettest  ther  lordship  aboue  al  ertheli  thyng. 

So  ther  fall  was  to  he[m]  importable;  640 

For  he  that  was  all  other  surmountyng, 

In  Paradis  regnyng  as  a  kyng  — 

Was  it  nat  a  dedli  mortal  peyne 

Fro  thilke  place  to  haue*  a  fall  sodeyne!  644 

For  thilke  sorwe  surmountith  euery  sorwe. 

Which  next  folwith  afFtir  felicite; 

No  wo  mor  greuous  at  eue  nor  at  morwe. 

As  is  in  deede  sodeyn  aduersite  648 

Which  cometh  onwarli  afftir  prosperite, 

Nor  nothyng  more  may  hertis  disauaunce 

Than  ofF  old  ioie  newe  remembraunce. 

Takith  exaumpil  ofF  Adam  and  off  Eue,  652 

Makith  off  hem  a  merour  in  your  mynde, 
Wher  of  resoun  it  dede  hem  gretii  greue 
For  to  be  put,  alias,  so  ferre  behynde 

619.  maner]  om.  R. 

621.  weren]  wern  H  5,  P,  were  J,  R  3. 

628.  immortall  R.     629.   2nd  in]  om.  H,  J,  H  5. 

631.  banshid]  banyssht  H,  banysshid  J.      633.   on]  to  R. 

644.  thilke]  that  Hs  —  tohaue]taue  B, 

BK.   0 

The  Story  of  Adam  and  Eve 


Out  ofF  that  blisse,  thei  and  al  ther  kynde, 
Chaungyng  thestat  off  inmortalite 
And  becam  subiect  to  deth  and  pouerte. 

Ther  sodeyn  chaung  &  ther  onwar  myscheefF 

And  ther  onhappi  transmutacioun,  — 

It  was  to  hem  ful  vnkouth  and  vnleeff 

For  to  departe  fro  thilke  mansioun 

That  was  so  full  off  delectacioun, 

Fro  such  delicis  sodenli  to  goo 

Into  this  world  which  is  so  full  off  woo. 

There  is  delit,  and  heer  is  sorwe  [&]  care, 
There  is  ioie,  and  heer  is  heuynesse, 
There  is  plente,  and  heer  is  euel  fare, 
There  is  helthe,  and  heer  is  gret  siknesse, 
Heer  trouble  ay  meynt  with  onseur  gladnesse, 
Ther  is  ay  blisse  and  eternal  glorie,* 
And  heere  no  merthe  but  fals  &  transitorie. 

Alias,  how  thei  wer  blyndid  in  ther  siht 
Thoruh  veynglorie*  and  fals  ambicioun! 
Thei  wente  wrong,  thei  lokid  nat  a-riht, 
Fals  couetise  was  ther  confusioun, 
Wherthoruh  thei  loste  the  dominacioun 
Off  Paradis,  and  wex  bothe  poore  &  thrall, 
Ther  fredam  leffte  and  becam  mortall. 

Onto  God  thei  wolde  ha  be  semblable, 

Lik  onto  hym  good  and  euel  to*  knowe, 

Arid  in  ther  trust  for  thei  wer  nat  stable, 

From  ther  estat  thei  were  brouht  ful  lower 

And  thus,  alias,  the  seed  was  first  isowe, 

The  roote  plantid  off  disobeissaunce, 

Which  brouht  our  lynage  to  sorwe  &  myschauwce 

Thus  cam  in  first  thoruh  inobedience. 
As  bi  a  gate,  pouerte  and  neede; 
And  at  ther  bak  folwed  indigence, 
Sorwe,  siknesse,  maladie  and  dreede, 
Exil,  banshyng  and  seruitute,  in  deede, 
Which  causid  man  longe  to  contune 
Vndir  the  lordshipe  &  daunger  off  Fortune. 

c./L    who  became 
°50    subject  to 

poverty  and 





It  was  hard 
for  thera  to 
leave  the 
Garden  of 
Eden  and  its 







They  were 
blinded  by 

and  brought 

Thus,  through 


all  evils  came 

into  the  world, 



fear,  pestilence, 


6^7.  immortalite  R.  664.   delites  H,  R  3. 

668.  euelfare  B.  669.  gret]  om.  H.  670.  Heer]  Heere  is  R. 
671,  2.  gloire,  transitoire  B,  transitoyre  H.  674.  veyngloire  B. 
681.   to]  ta  B.      683.   brouht]  I  brouht  H. 


and  the 
of  old  age. 

Adam  had 
to  toil  for 
his  living 

in  the  dread 
of  cruel  beasts, 
dragons  and 

He  and  Eve 
shed  bitter 

Cain  slew 

The  Story  of  Adam  and  Eve  [[bk.  i 

Thus  cam  in  eek  maladie  and  deth 

To  dispoile  mankynde  off  his  beute, 

Long  siknesse  and  pestilence  that  sleth  696 

Bi  sodeyn  strok  which  no  man  may  fle;  * 

For  onto  Adam  and  his  posterite 

Deth  was  annexid  bi  successioun 

For  his  offence,  and  so  conueied  doun  700 

Fro  man  to  man  in  eueri  maner  age. 

For  who  list  knowe,  synwe  brouht  in  shame, 

Man  to  be  feeble  and  feynt  in  his  passage, 

And  be  processe  to  wexen  halt  and  lame  —  704 

Onto  Adam  this  was  an  vnkouth  game. 

To  be  constreynyd  from  riche  apparaile 

In  bareyn  erthe  to  sekyn  his  vitaile. 

In  hungir  [and]  thrust  heere  he  ladde  his  liff,  708 

With  soot,  with  labour  and  tribulaciouns. 

Endured  also  many  mortal  striff, 

Off  hot  and  cold  riht  strauwge  passiouns, 

Off  elementis  sodeyn  mutaciouws,  712 

Wynd,  hail  and  reyn  feerfulli  fallyng, 

And  onwar  strokis  off  thundir  &  lihtnyng. 

Thei  stood  also  in  daunger  and  in  dreed 
Off  cruel  beestis,  tigres  and  leouws,  716 

Off  tusshi  booris,  who-so  taketh  heed, 
And  in  gret  feer  off  these  fell  dragouns, 
^Thassaut  off  serpentis  and  off  scorpiouns; 
_  For  thilke  beestis  that  toforn  were  mylde,  720 

)  Afftir  ther  synnyng  ful  rage  wex  and  wilde. 

Wher  thei  stood[e]  first  in  sekirnesse,  [p.  11] 

Off  ioie  and  blisse  euer  in  oon  lastyng, 

Out  off  ther  reste  thei  fill  in  onseurnesse,  724 

In  sorwe  and  sihhyng,  &  dolorous  pleynyng; 

And  fro  ther  eyen  contynueli  wepyng. 

The  bittir  teris  day  be  day  distille. 

In  this  desert  for  wantyng  off  ther  wille.  728 

And  whethir  wer  thei  sorweful  or*  fayn, 

Long  tyme  afftir  ther  desolacioun, 

Whan  thei  fond  Abel  ther  owyn  sone  slayn 

697.   which]  which  that  H  5  —  fle]  see  B,  R. 

699.    annexid]  anvexed  R.       708.    and]  om.  H. 

709.   soot]  seot  R,  swete  H,  swett  R  3,  swet  P  —  2nd  with] 

and  J,  H  5.  713.    feerfulH]  feerdfuUi  J. 

725.  dolorous]  dolours  R.      729.  or]  outher  B. 

BK.   i] 

The  Story  of  Adam  and  Eve 


Be  cruel  Caym  to  his  confusioun, 

The  same  Caym,  as  maad  is  mencioun, 

Afftir  that  tyme  wilde  and  vacabounde 

Til  blynde  Lamech  gafF  hym  his  dethis  wounde. 

Adam  nor  Eue  affor  that  ilke  tyme 
Hadde  neuer  seyn  no  feste  funerall, 
Off  chaung  it  was*  to  hem  a  newe  pryme, 
For  to  beholde  a  thyng  disnaturall, 
Brethre  off  o  wombe  be  hatred  fraternall, 
The  toon  off  herte*  so  feer  hymselff  deuyde, 
Off  fals  malis  to  been  an  homicide. 

And  was  it  nat  a  peyne  whan  thei  stood, 
For  to  beholde  ther  sone  pale  and  ded 
Ligge  on  the  ground[e],  bathid  in  his  blood, 
And  al  the  soil  where  he  lay  was  red. 
That  whan  Adam  and  Eue  tooken  heed, 
It  was  to  hem  ful  gret  aduersite 
The  newe  slauhtre  to  beholde  and  see. 

And  euer  a-mong  ther  sihhes  harde  and  sore, 
Ther  bittir  wepyng  and  sorwes  to  auaunce. 
Or  thei  wer  war,  ther  heris  wexyn  hore. 
And  age  gan  ther  beute  disauaunce; 
Ther  youthe  also  be  ful  gret  displesaunce 
Gan  tappalle,  or  thei  it  coude  espie, 
Be  cruel  constreynt  and  force  of  maladie. 

And  whan  off  youthe  fallyn  was  the  flour 
Bi  the  processe  of  many  hundrid  yeris, 
And  bi  the  duresse  off  many  gret  labour 
Thei  wex  onlusti  and  ougli  off  ther  cheris  — 
Off  age  and  deth,  these  be  the  daungeris, 
To  seyn  chekmat,  in  nature  it  is  kouth, 
OntoTteute  and  greene  lusty  youth. 

For  whan  the  yeris  fulli  passid  be 
Off  flouryng  age,  lastyng  a  sesoun. 
Be  processe,  at  eie  men  may  see, 
Beute  declynyth,  his  blosmys  falle  doun; 
And  lite  and  litil  be  successioun 


7?6     ^'^^'^^  8»^'« 
'J       occasion  for 
the  first 







hvjL>  k> 

kc^-    tiC'-M 

Their  beauty 


they  became 
dull  and 
with  yeari. 




732.  Caym  R,  H,  J,  R  3,  Cayrae  H  5,  Ca>-n  P. 

735.   Latneth,  as  written  in  B,  R,  H. 

738.   Off  chaung  it  wasj  It  was  off  chaung  B  —  it  was  to  hem] 

to  hem  it  was  R  3. 
741.   herte]  hate  B,  R. 
752.  thei]  the  R.      759.  labour]  labours  R. 


Thus  Adam, 
once  the 
fairest  of 
men,  grew 
old  and  died. 

He  was 
buried  in 

His  dis- 
made  all 
men  subject 
to  death. 

The  Story  of  Adam  and  Eve 

Cometh  croked  elde  onwarli  in  crepyng, 
With  his  potent  ful  poorli  manasyng. 

Thus  to  our  fadir,  that  callid  was  Adam, 
Off  creatures  fairest  off  alle  faire, 
Afftir  gret  age,  bi  processe  .deth.  in  cam. 
And  gan  onwarli  ascende  vpon  the  staire 
With  his  potent,  and  caste  hym  to  repaire 
With  Antropos,  which  affor  shal  goon 
For  tuntwyne  his  lyuys  threed  anoon. 

And  in  Ebron  was  maad  his  sepulture, 

Ther  afftir  bilt  a  myhti  gret  cite, 

Bi  whos  story  and  record  off  nature 

I  may  conclude,  who-so  list  to  see. 

That  neuer  man  hadde  liberte, 

Sithen  that  Adam  our  Lord  gan  disobeye, 

Ageyn[e]s  deth,  but  that  he  muste  deye. 

Hbk.  I 

<  '*.  ^I'-i 





laments  the 
fate  of  Adam, 

teaches  us 
the  sorrow 
of  the  world. 

For  all  their 
pride,  men 
must  die. 

The  compleynt  off  Bochas  vpon  the  fall  off  Adam. 

IN  compleynyng,  myn  auctowr  lohn  Bochas 
Ful  pitousli  in  his  aduertence 
Bewepith,  wailith,  &  offte  seith  alias, 
In  an  appel  ther  was  so  gret  offence,  788 

That  for  a  tast  off  inobedience, 
Adam,  alias,  sholde  ha[ue]  so  gret  a  fall, 
So  sodenli  to  deie  and  be  mortall! 

Which  exauwpil  ouhte  I-nouh  suffise,  792 

In  al  this  world[e]  thouh  there  were  no  mo, 

Texemplefie  to  folkis  that  be  wise. 

How  this  world  is  a  thoruhfare  ful  off  woo, 

Lich  fals  Fortune,  which  turnyth  to  and  fro  796 

To  make  folkis,  whan  thei  most  cleerli  shyne. 

In  ther  estatis  onwarli  to  declyne. 

For  thouh  that  thei  her  hedis  leffte  a-loffte 
Hih  as  Phebus  shynyth  in  his  speer, 
Thynke  them-silff[e],  as  it  fallith  offte, 
Ther  renoun  rechith  aboue  the  sterris  cleer, 
And  how  ther  fame  surmountith  euery  speer 




775.   and]  om.  H. 

797.   cleerli]  clery  R.       799. 

801.   Thynke]  tenke  R. 

lifFt  H.       800.   Hih]  lich  R. 

BK.   l] 

The  Story  of  Adam  and  Eve 

Ther  trust  corrupt  hath  a  ful  sodeyn  fall,  804 

For  to  declare  how  thei  be  mortall. 

O  worldii  folk,  aduertlsith  off  entent. 

What  vengaunce  and  what  punycioun 

God  shal  taken  in  his  iugement  ,    808 

For  your  trespas  and  your  transgressioun. 

Which  breke  his  preceptis  a-geyn  al  resoun! 

Ye  han  forgoten,  how  with  his  precious  blood 

You  for  to  saue  he  starff  vpon  the  rood.  812 

For  yiff  Adam  for  his  disobeissaunce 

Was  bi  the  Lord,  as  hym  list  ordeyne, 

Maad  first  &  formyd  with  euery  circumstaunce 

Off  creatures  to  be  most  souereyne,  816 

Yiff  that  he  was  enbraced  in  the  cheyne 

Off  seruitute,  with  thraldam  ouerseyn, 

What  shal  I  thanne  off  othir  folkis  seyn. 

That  lyuyn  heer  in  this  desert  off  sorwe,  820 

In  this  exil  off  plesance  desolat, 

And  in  this  world[e],  both  at  eue  &*  morwe. 

Off  hertili  ioie  stonde  disconsolat, 

Al  destitut  and  eek  infortunat,  824 

And  forpossid  with  wo  off  worldii  trouble. 

Ay  variable  and  ful  off  chauTzgis  double? 

Ye  nat  entende  but  to  fals  couetise. 

To  fraude,  baret  and  extorsioun,  828 

Geyn  God  and  trouthe  in  many  dyuers  wise, 

Geyn  your  neihbour  be  fals  collusioun 

To  doon  [himj  wrong  and  oppressioun. 

And  werst  off  all,  ye  rechch[e]  nat  be  synne  832 

To  sle  your  soule,  worldii  good  to  wynne. 

And  yiff  it  falle  your  power  be  but  small 

Taccomplisshe  your  auarice  in  deede, 

Your  synful  will  assentith  ouerall  836 

Thyng  to  desire  off  which  ye*  may  nat  speede; 

And  thus  fals  lust  doth  your  bridil  leede, 

Thrust  off  hauyng  so  sore  you  doth  assaile, 

Falsli  afferd  the  world  you  sholde  faile.  840 


O  woridly 
people,  know 
that  God  will 
punish  yon 

as  he  did 
Adam,  most 
of  men! 

You  draw 
only  to 
covet  ousness 
and  fraud, 
you  opprest 
your  fdlow 
men  and 
slay  your 
own  souls 
for  gain.    If 
too  weak  to 
sin  in  deed, 
you  sin  in 

822.  &]  &  at  B,  R,  H,  J,  R  3. 

826.  ful]  om.  R. 

831.  him]  om.  R,  H.       832.   ye]  the  R.     834.   falle]  hap  R3. 

837.  ye]  thei  B,  om.  R.      839.  Thurst  R,  H. 

840.  Falsli]  Fals  R. 


The  Story  of  Adam  and  Eve 

[bk.  I 

If  God 
chastises  you 
lightly,  you 

God  do€s  not 
bid  us  prove 
our  might 
on  the 

or  conquer 
the  Golden 
Fleece,  or 
slay  the 
Minotaur  or 
do  anything 
that  is 

He  does  not 
tell  us  to  risk 
our  lives  in 
adventure  as 
did  Hercules. 

And  ylfF  that  God,  benigne  and  debonaire, 

With  his  yerde  off  castigacioun 

Chastise  you  but  esili  and  faire, 

Ye  grucch  ageyn[es]  his  correccioun,  S44 

Nothyng  aduertyng  in  your  discrecioun, 

How  God  nat  bad  us,  who  can  taken  heed, 

Nat  for  to  stryue  nor  to  wrastle  in  deed, 

Nouther  our  strengthe  nor  our  myht  tapplie  848 

Vpon  the  beeste  monstruous  and  sauage, 

Which  callid  is  the  Chymere  off  Licie  — 

SpeciaH  whan  he  is  in  his  rage. 

Which  monstre  hadde  to  his  auauntage  85a 

Hed  off  a  leoun,  as  bookis  determyne, 

Wombe  off  goot,  and  tail  serpentyne, 

Which  was  outraied  off  Bellofforon, 

As  olde  poetis  make  mencioun.  856 

Nor  God  bad  nat  that  men  sholde  gon 

Into  Colchos  to  conquere  with  lason 

The  Flees  off  Gold,  which  in  that  regioun 

With  firi  bolis  off  metal  maad  and  bras,  860 

And  bi  a  dragoun  ful  streihtli  kepid  was. 

God  bad  us  nat  our  cuntrees  for  to  lete 

To  vndirfonge  thynges  inpossible, 

The  Minotaur  for  to  slen  in  Crete,  864 

HalfF  man,  halfF  bole,  yifF  it  be  credible, 

Which  was  a  monstre  hatful  and  odible. 

Whilom  brouht  foorth,  in  bookis  ye  may  see, 

Bi  Minos  wiff,  callid  Pasiphe,  868 

Whos  story  techith,  yifF  ye  list  to  lere. 

This  ougli  beeste  cruel  and  monstruous, 

Thoruh  Adriane,  the  kyngis  doubter  deere, 

Was  whilom  slay[e]n  be  due  Theseus  872 

Withynne  a  caue  maad  be  Dedalus. 

God  bit  us  nat,  pleynli,  for  his  sake. 

So  gret  emprises  for  to  vndirtake. 

He  bit  us  nat  to  been  so  rek[e]les  876 

In  pereilous  deedis  that  been  marciali 
Vs  to  iuparte  as  dede  Hercules, 

847.  to  wrastle]  for  to  wrastile  R,  for  to  wrastle  H,  for   to 

wrastill  R  3. 
850.   callid]  clepid  H.       855.   Bellofforon]  belliferoun  J. 
862.   bad]  gaff  R.      869.  lere]  heer  H.      872.   be]  the  R. 

BK.   I^ 

The  Story  of  Adam  and  Eve 


Which  bi  the  biddyng  in  especiall 
Off  Euristeus,  the  myhti  kyng  roiall,  880 

Lord  off  Athenys,  to  make  his  honour  shjme, 
Lemyd  off  armys  the  famous  disciplyne. 

Off  his  preceptis  yiff  we  han  a  siht  [p.  13] 

And  remembre  off  his  hih  bounte,  884 

He  vs  comaundith  thyngis  that  been  hht 

For  taccomplisshe  with  al  humilite. 

From  our  corage  tauoide  al  vanite. 

And  from  our  hertis  texcludyn  idilnesse  888 

And  the  fals  chaung  off  al  worldli  gladnesse. 

For  on-taman  that  parfit  is  and  stable, 

Bi  good  resoun  myn  auctour  doth  well  preue. 

There  is  no  thyng  mor  fair  nor  agreable  892 

Than  fynali  his  vicious  liff  to  leue. 

On  verray  God  rihtfully  beleue, 

Hym  loue  and  worshepe  a-boue  al  ertheli  thinges; 

This  passith  victory  off  erap<frours  and  kynges.      896 

The  Lord  bit  eek,  who*  that  can  disceme. 

Off  enteer  loue  to  doon  our  labour 

In  this  liff  heer  so  oursilff  *  goueme. 

To  fadir  &  moodir  that  we  do  dieu  honour. 

And  in  ther  neede  to  doon  to  hem  socour, 

And  in  al  vertu  our  frendis  to  conforte. 

And  to  our  power  in  myscheeff  hem  supporte. 

For  in  this  world  is  no  thyng  mor  parfit,  904 

Nor  taccomplisshe  thyng  off  mor  plesance. 

Than  a  man  for  to  haue  delit 

In  litil  good  to  hauen  suffisance. 

And  be  content  in  his  gouemance,  908 

Voide  auarice  and  thynkyn  euer  a-mong. 

To  his  neihbour  that  he  do  no  wrong. 

Nat  to  coueite  his  goodis  in  no  wise, 

Hymsilff  goueme  lik  to  his  estat,  912 

Nat  excede,  but  fleen  and  eek  despise 

He  aaki  ii« 
only  to  ezdude 
vanity  and 
idleneai  from 
our  hearts. 

pleases  a  good 
man  more 
than  to  do 
right  and 
lore  God. 


\  man  ihould 
be  content 
with  little 
wealth,  do  ao 
wrong  to  hia 

880.  Euristius  R. 

890.  on-taman]  vnto  a  man  H,  J,  R  3,  P,  H  5. 

895.  ertheii]  om.  R. 

897.  bit]  biddith  R  3,  H  5  —  who]  we  B,  R. 

899.  oursilff]  our  liff  B,  R.      902.  comforte  H. 

907.  hauen]  haue  H,  R,  R  3. 

913.  excede]  to  excede  J,  H  5  —  an  1  precedes  eke  in  H  {slip 
of  pen). 


and  live  in 
and  peace. 

He  should 
avoid  scorn 
and  follow  the 
example  of 
Our  Lord, 

who  asked 
nothing  more 
than  that  we 
do  as  he 
bade  us. 

Let  us  be 
better  than 
beasts,  and 
that  all 
wealth  shall 
fade  as  a 

and  that 
pride  and 
were  the 
of  sorrow. 

The  Story  of  Adam  and  Eve  [^bk.  I 

Al  maner  loue  which  is  disordynat, 

HymsilfF  preseruyng  from  contek  &  debat, 

And  speciali  teschewen,  it  is  good,  916 

Slauhtre,  moordre  &  shedyng  eek  off  blood. 

Fleen  from  his  synne  and  hatyn  for  to  lie, 

OfFolde  offends  a-mong  ha[ue]  repentance, 

And  teschewe  al  scorn  and  moquerie,  920 

Ageyn  vicis  doon  almesse  and  penance, 

And  to  haue  most  souere[y]nli  plesance 

To  sue  the  pathes*  of  our  Lord  lesw, 

Trewe  exaumplaire  off  grace  and  al  vertu.  924 

Which  for  our  sake  and  our  redempcioun 

And  for  our  loue  was  nailid  to  a  tre, 

Suffrid  peyne  and  cruel  passiouw. 

And  nothyng  axeth,  off  hih  nor  low  degre  928 

Recompensid  ageynward  for  to  be. 

But  that  we  sette  al  hooli  our  ententis 

For  to  fulfiUe  his  comaundementis. 

And  off  his  grace  heer  in  this  mortal  liff,  93a 

As  we  precelle  in  wisdom  and  resouw, 

And  off  his  giffte  han  a  prerogatiff 

Toforn  all  beestis  bi  discrecioun, 

Therfore  lat  us  off  hool  entenciouw,  936 

As  we  off  resouw  beestis  ferr  exceede, 

Lat  us  forn*  hem  be,  be  woord,  exaumple  and  deede. 

Grouwde  us  first  vpon  humilite, 

Our  pompous  eien  meekli  to  vnclose,  940 

Enclyne  our  hedis,  and  to  conceyue  and  see 

Al  worldli  welthe  shal  fadyn  as  a  rose. 

And  off  meek  herte  lat  us  oursilff  dispose, 

Bi  this  tragedie  to  ha[ue]  knowlechyng  944 

Off  our  myscheeff  how  roote  and  eek  gynnyng 

Was  the  vice  off  inobedience, 

Surquedie  and  fals  disobeissaunce, 

As  myn  auctour  hath  shewid  in  sentence,  948 

Enprentith  it  weel  in  your  remembraunce, 

Be-war*  the  serpent  with  his  disseyuaunce, 

920.   mokrye  H.      923.    pathes]  paththes  B,  R,  pathis  H. 

932.  his]om.  R.    933.  injofj  —  and]ofJ. 

934.    hanl  and  R.       936.    hool]  hoolde  R. 

938.   fornj  aforn  MSS.  —  ist  bej  om.  J  —  2nd  be]  in  H  5  — 

by  example  word  &  dede  R  3. 
944.   to  haue]  ta  H.      950.    Be-war]  Beth  war  B,  J. 

BK.   Q 

Adam  and  EvCf  the  Envoy 


The  flessh,  the  world,  your  enmies,  alle  thre, 
Thoruh  ther  treynys  ye  nat  deceyued  be. 

Your  beste  sheeld  to  make  resistance 
Ageyn  ther  power  sothli  is  meeknesse. 
Your  haberioun  most  myhti  off  difFence, 
The  feendis  myht  to  venquysshe  and  oppresse, 
Is  to  remembre  deuoutH  with  lownesse, 
How  meekli  Crist  to  paien  our  ransoun 
Suffred  on  a  crosse  deth  and  passioun. 

Wherbi  men  may,  that  prudent  been  &  wis. 

The  ioies  cleyme  which  been  etemall, 

And  entre  ageyn  into  Paradis, 

Fro  when[ne]s  whilom  Adam  hadde  a  fall; 

To  which[e]  place  a-boue  celestiall, 

O  Crist  I^ju,  so  brynge  us  to  that  glory, 

Which  be  thi  deth  hadde  the  victory! 



Meekness  i 
your  best 
shield  of 

y-       May  Jesus 
900     bring  us 
again  into 


[p.    14] 

^  The  lenvoye  off  this  tragedie. 

SODEYN  departing  out  off  felicite 
Into  miserie  and  mortal  heuynesse, 
Vnwar  depryuyng  of  our  prosperite, 
Chaung  off  gladnesse  into  wrechchidnesse. 
Long  langwisshyng  in  wo  and  bittirnesse, 
Contynuel  sorwe,  dreed,  dool  and  pestilence 
Were  first  brouht  in  bi  inobedience. 

Adam  and  Eue  losten  ther  liberte, 
Ther  frau^chise  and  ther  blissidnesse, 
Put  into  exil  and  captyuyte 
To  lyue  in  labour,  in  wo  and  pensifnesse, 
Thoruh  fals  desirs  off  pompous  wilfulnesse, 
To  the  Serpent  whan  thei  gaff  credence. 
The  Lord  mistristyng  thoruh  inobedience. 

But,  o  alias,  where-as  thei  were  fre. 

Off  ioie  eternal  stood  in  sekirnesse, 

Thei  were  to  blynde  —  alias,  it  was  pite!  — 

To  leue  ther  teste  and  lyue  in  werynesse, 

AI  ther  ofFspryng  to  bryngyn  in  distresse, 

Drawyng  fro  God  his  due  reuerence 

Thoruh  fals  consentyng  to  inobedience. 

9S9.   a]  om.  ],  H  5. 

962.   entre  ageyn]  ageyn  entre  H,  R,  R  3.       966.   the]  om.  H. 

972.   pestilence]  offence   H.      980.   mystrustyng   H. 





turned  all 
joy  into  woe. 

Thus  Adam 
and  Eve  fell, 

and  brought 

into  distress. 


The  Story  of  Nimrod 

[bk.  I 

beware  of 
and  pride, 

that  your 
subjects  will 
deal  with 
you  as  you 
deal  with 

Wherfore,  ye  Pryncis,  auisili  doth  see,  988 

As  this  tragedie  in  maner  berth  witnesse, 

Where-as  wantith  in  any  comounte 

Subieccioun,  for  lakkyng  off  meeknesse, 

And  with  pouert  pride  hath  an  interesse,  992 

Ther  folwith  afFtir  thoruh  froward  insolence 

Among  the  peeple  fals  inobedience. 

And,  noble  Pryncis,  which  han  the  souereynte 

To  gouerne  the  peeple  in  rihtwisnesse,  996 

Lik  as  ye  cherisshe  hem  in  pes  and  vnyte. 

Or  frowardli  destroie  hem  or  oppresse, 

So  ageynward  ther  corages  thei  will  dresse 

Lowli  tobeie  to  your  magnyficence,  1000 

Or  disobeie  bi  inobedience. 

Only  eight 
people  were 
saved  from 
the  Deluge, 

therefore  my 
author  passes 
over  to 

During  the 
Flood  all 
books  were 

[How  Nembroth  bilt  the  toure  of  babilone  to  saue 
him  from  noyous  flodis  which  for  his  pride  was 
put  fro  his  magnificence  and  his  toure  witTi 
sodeyne  levene  smyten  doun.]]  ^ 

MYN  auctowr  Bochas,  as  he  that  vndirstood 
The  vengauwces  &  myscheuis  huge 
Which  that  God  took  with  Noes  Flood,  1004 

Whan  he  sente  an  vniuersel  deluge, 
Ageyn[e]s  which  there  was  no  refuge, 
Sauf  eihte  personis  in  that  mortal  wo 
Withynne  a  ship  were  sauyd  and  no  mo.  1008 

Wherfore  myn  auctour  lihtli  ouergoth, 
Makith  off  that  age  no  special  remembraunce. 
But  passeth  ouer  from  Adam  to  Nembroth, 
Consid[e]ryng  how  in  that  dedli  chaunce  1012 

The  Lord  for  synne  took  so  gret  vQngauwce, 
That  be  writyng  off  cronique  nor  historie,* 
Off  hih  nor  low  was  lefft[e]  no  memorie. 

For  ther  was  lefft  cronicle  noon  nor  book  1016 

Afftir  the  Flood,  that  made  mencioun 
Off  noon  auctour,  who-so  list  to  look; 

991.   lakkyng]  lak  H.     994,  6.    poeple  R.     1007.   eihte]  viij  B. 

1014.  cronique  nor  historie]  story  nor  victoire  B,  H,  R  3, 
P,  stories  nor  victorie  J;  story  nor  victoire  is  altered  to 
croniqtt^  nor  histoire  in  R.  1015.   memoire  B. 

1  MS  J.  leaf  6  recto. 



The  Story  of  Nimrod 






For  al  was  brouht  to  destruccioun 
Bi  a  deluge,  withoute  excepcioun,  1020 

For  which  myn  zuctour  transportid  hath  his  stile, 
And  off  that  tyme  list  nothyng  compile. 

He  fond  no  mater  wheron  he  myht  founde 

Nor  sette  his  foot,  bi  noon  auctorite, 

Nor  no  trouthe  his  purpos  on  to  grounde 

OfF  old[e]  writyng  that  he  coude  see; 

For  which  hym  thouhte,  off  necessite 

The  surplusage  off  al  that  tyme  lete. 

And  afftir  Adam  with  Nembroth  for  to  meete. 

And  certis,  lich  as  Bochas  in  this  book 
Remembrith  first  off  Adam  the  storye. 
So  next  in  ordre  he  the  story  took 
To  speke  off  Nembroth  and  his  surquedie. 
Which  heere  in  erthe,  as  bookis  specefie, 
Afftir  the  Flood  his  wawes  gan  asswage. 
Was  maad  a  lord  to  goueme  in  that  age. 

For  whan  the  floodis  begonne*  to  discrese. 
And  God  his  vengaunce  gan  to  modefie, 
Withdrouh  his  hand,  the  watir  tho  gan  cese, 
Vpon  the  mounteyns  hie  off  Armenye 
The  shipp  gan  reste,  the  Bible  can  nat  lye; 
And  in  that  age,  callid  the  secounde, 
Lynage  off  man  be-gan  a-geyn  tabounde. 

Tencrese  ageyn  and  to  multeplie, 

And  bi  discent,  in  bookis  ye  may  see 

Specefied  the  genealogie. 

How  that  oon  Chiris,  cosyn  to  Noe, 

A  man  that  tyme  off  gret  auctorite. 

Onto  this  Nembroth,  the  story  doth  assure. 

The  fadir  was,  as  bi  engendrure. 

This  Nembroth  wex  myhti,  large  and  long, 
Excellyng  othre  as  off  his  stature, 
Surquedous,  hardi  and  riht  strong, 
And  in  his  tyme  gret  labour  myht  endure, 
And  in  his  force  so  moche  he  dede  assure. 

so  my  author 
found  no 
material  until 
he  came  to 

a  proud  king. 

After  the 




men  began 
to  increase 

Fn     TCl     Nimrod  "as 
IF'   *  jJ     mighty  and 

10-2     ^'^' 

1024.   foot]  feot  R. 

1026.   altered  into:  Of  Olde  writyng  eke  coude  he  nothing  se,  R. 

1035.   his]  is  R. 

1037.   begonne]  began  B,  R,  H.         1055.   he]  om.  R. 


called  Prince 
of  Hunting, 

feared  by 
man  and 

He  began 
to  conspire 
against  God, 

and  thought 
he  would 
secure  him- 
self against 

The  Story  of  Nimrod  []bk.  i 

That  ther  was  noon  on  watir  nor  on  lond  1056 

Which  durste  presume  his  power  to  withstond. 

And  his  noblesse  mor  to  magnefie 

In  worldli  worshepe,  hi  report  off  his  glorie,* 

He  was  caUid  cheefF  prynce  off  venerie,  1060 

Desirous  euer  for  to  han  victorie 

Off  beestis  wilde,  to  be  put  in  memorie 

And  haue  a  pris  amongis  these  champiouws, 

Tigres  to  dauwte,  bores  and  leouws.  1064 

Ther  was  no  beeste  in  wodes  so  sauage 

That  durste  ageyn  hym  make  resistence; 

His  furious  ire  so  mortal  was  and  rage, 

The  erthe  quook  for  feer  off  his  presence,  1068 

Til  atte  laste  in  his  aduertence. 

As  a  prynce  deuoidid  ofF  al  grace, 

Ageyn[e]s  God  he  gan  for  to  compace. 

He  made  a  maner  coniuraciouw,  1072 

This  froward  geant,  and  a  conspiracie. 

Took  his  counseil  bi  fals  coUusiouw, 

His  myht,  his  power  for  to  magnefye,* 

And  his  estat  for  to  glorefie,  1076 

Thouhte  he  wolde  off  his  entent  nat  faile 

God  and  the  heuene  proudli  to  assaile. 

That  maugre  God,  which  [that]  gouernyth  all. 

He  thouhte  he  wolde  proudli  take  on  honde,         1080 

Ageyn  deluges,  yifF  any  falle  shall, 

OfF  prouidence  pleynli  hem  withstonde, 

HymsillF  tassure  &  make  a  place  on  londe 

That  sholde  hym  keepe  &  been  to  hym  difFenge    1084 

Bothe  a-geyn  God  and  watris  violence. 

And  that  thei  myhte  acomplisshe  ther  entent 

Lich  ther  desir,  thei  dedyn  ther  labour, 

Took  ther  couwseil  al  be  oon  assent,  1088 

Chose  Nembroth  ther  due,  ther  gouernour 

Hem  to  conveie  and  doon  to  hem  socour,  "^ 

To  been  ther  guide,  afForn  as  thei  were  war, 

Toward  a  contre  which  callid  is  Sennar,  109a 

1058.  his]  om.  R. 

1059,  61,  62.    glo'"' 
1075.   magnefye 
1079.   which  {)at 


loire,  victoire,  memoire  B,  R, 
{]  multeplie  B,  J,  H  5,  R. 
t  H;  R,  R  3,  H  5,  P  agree  wh 


agree  with  B. 

BK.   0 

Tbr  Story  of  Nimrod 

In  compas  wise  rouwd  a-boute  closid 

With  a  gret  flood  namyd  Eufrates. 

Ther  straunge  foli  which  thei  han  purposid, 

For  to  fulfiUe  thei  wer  nat  rek[e]les:  1096 

This  to  seyne,  thei  put  hemsilfF  in  pres. 

So  hih  a  tour  for  to  edefie, 

Which  that  sholde  surmounte  a-boue  the  skie, 

That  thei  sholde  greued  be  no  more,  noo 

With  no  deluge  brouht  to  destruccioun. 

Nor  that  watres  may  nat  greue  hem  sore, 

This  was  the  fyn  off  ther  entenciouw. 

And  off  that  tour  &  myhti  strong  dongoun,         1104 

Geyn  God  and  floodis  hemsiluen  to  assure. 

The  heihte  and  largesse  were  off  o  mesure. 

Thus  off  Nembroth  encresen  gan  the  name; 

And  in  the  peeplis  reputacioun,  1108 

Off  gold  and  richesse  he  hadde  so  gret  a  fame, 

Thei  callid  hym  god  in  ther  opynyoun. 

Most  eurous,  most  myhti  off  renoun. 

The  world  al  hool  vndir  his  obeissaunce,  1112 

As  god  and  lord  he  took  the  gouernauwce. 

Vndir  whos  myht  the  peeple  gan  proceede. 

He  as  a  lord  hauyng  inspeccioun, 

Pershyng  the  bowell[s]  off  the  erthe  in  deede       1116 

To  make  myhti  ther  fundacioun; 

And  off  fals  glory  and  veyn  ambicioun. 

This  proude  Nembroth  in  his  appetit, 

To  seen  hem  werke  hadde  ful  gret  delit.  11 20 

His  ioie  was  and  his  inward  gladnesse 

To  beholde  so  gret  a  cumpanye 

Percen  the  erthe  bi  so  gret  depnesse, 

To  make  the  ground[e]  strong  bi  masounrye,        1124 

The  werk  vpward  for  to  fortefie, 

With  many  a  ston,  huge  &  large  off  weihte, 

Thei  han  it  reisid  vp  in  the  heir  off  heihte. 

And  fynali  bi  mediacioun  1128 

Off  this  gret  werk  Nembroth  wex  famous, 
Takyng  in  herte  gret  consolacioun, 

1099.  that^  om.  H. 

II 16.   bowett  R  3,  H,  bouel  R,  bowels  J,  bowelles  H  5,  bowels  P. 

1 1 23.   P^fsyng  H. 


by  building 
a  high  tower. 

Nimrod's  repu- 
tation grew; 
he  was  con- 
sidered a 
god,  and 
governed  the 
whole  world. 

He  rejoiced 
in  the  build- 
ing of  his 

and  in  his 
riches  and 


The  Story  of  Nimrod 

[bk.  I 

The  tower 
was  called 
Babel,  but 
now  it  is 
the  lair  of 
serpents  and 
the  air  about 
it  is  in- 

Yet  it  rises 
to  the  stars 

so  mightily 
that  no  liv- 
ing creature 
ever  saw 
another  like 

Nimrod  grew 
proud  and 
thought  him- 
self the  equal 
of  God. 

who  thereupon 
knocked  down  a 
great  part  of  his 
tower  and  killed 
bis  workmen. 

That  be  report  he  was  so  glorious, 

Off  so  gret  myht  &  off  port  so  pompous,  1132 

That  he  was  so  myhti,  riche  and  strong 

To  reise  a  tour,  so  wid,  so  large,  so  long. 

For  to  this  day  touchyng  the  grete  myht  [p.  16] 

Off  this  tour,  which  Babel  yit  men  call,  1136 

Men  fro  ful  ferr  may  han  therof  a  syht. 

For  it  surmouMtith  othir  touris  all. 

Off  which[e]  werk  thus  it  is  befall. 

Off  serpentis  and  many  a  gret  dragoun  1140 

It  is  now  callid  cheefF  habitaciouw, 

That  no  man  dar,  as  ferr  as  thei  it  see, 

For  wikkid  heir  and  for  corrupcioun, 

Bi  a  gret  space  and  hi  a  gret  contre  1144 

Approche  no  neer  that  merueilous  dongoun, 

So  venymous  is  that  mansioun 

And  so  horrible,  no  man  dar  approche, 

Lik  to  a  mounteyn  bilt  off  a  craggi  roche.  1148 

And  as  men  seyn  that  haue  had  ther  repair. 

This  tour  atteynyth  onto  the  sterris  cleer. 

And  transcendith  the  regioun  off  the  hair. 

The  ston,  the  syment  wer  maad  off  such  mateer,  1152 

And  the  ioynyng  so  stedfast  and  enteer, 

Thouh  fir  and  watir  bothe  it  dede  assaile, 

Ful  lite  or  nouht  ther  power  sholde  auaile. 

It  was  maad  so  myhti  to  endure,  1156 

So  weel  assurid  be  disposicioun. 

That  in  this  world  no  lyuyng  creature 

Sauh  neuer  noon  lik  in  comparisouw; 

Whos  reryng  up  was  cheeff  occasiouw,  1160 

And  the  richesse  off  the  masounrye, 

Wherthoruh  Newbroth  off  pride  and  surquedie 

Dempte  proudli,  as  in  his  auys. 

He  transcendid  all  othre  in  noblesse,  1164 

Thouhte  hymsilff  most  myhti  &  most  wis, 

Felawe  to  God,  as  be  liklynesse. 

But  God,  that  can  al  worldli  pride  oppresse. 

And  make  pryncis  eclipsen  in  ther  glory,  1168 

Such  as  truste  in  thyngis  transitory  — 

The  same  Lord  off  his  eternal  myht. 

This  tour  which  Nembroth  list  to  edefie, 

He  made  with  thondir  &  with  leuene  liht  1172 

BK.   i] 

The  Story  of  Nimrod 


TherofF  to  falle  a  ful  gret  partie; 

The  boistous  wyndis  and  the  rage  skie, 

And  Goddis  power  on  the  tother  side, 

Gan  thus  a-bate  a  parcel  off  his  pride.  1176 

And  in  discence  and  fallyng  off  the  stonys, 

Off  the  werkmen  ful  many  a  man  was  ded, 

And  oppressid,  ther  bak  Ibroke  and  bonys, 

The  masounry  with  ther  blood  was  red:  1180 

Yit  proude  Newbroth,  that  of  this  werk  was  hed. 

With  al  these  signes  his  Lord  ne  list  nat  knowe, 

For  which  his  pompe  was  afftir  brouht  ful  lowe. 

But  Nimrod, 
angry  and 

But  in  his  errour  procedith  forth  off  newe, 

Thouhte  he  wolde  gete  hymselff  a  name, 

Off  malencolie  gan  chaunge  look  and  hewe. 

And  gan  also  attempten  and  attame. 

For  to  encrece  and  magnefie  his  fame, 

A  newe  tour  to  edefie  a-geyn, 

Lik  as  God  hadde  be  blynd  &  nothyng  seyn. 

He  wolde  haue  rauht  up  to  the  sterris  seuene 
Bassent  off  hem  that  gan  hym  first  counsaile, 
Robbid  God,  &  from  hym  rauht  the  heuene; 
But  who  presumeth  the  Lord  aboue  tassaile, 
It  were  no  resoun  that  he  sholde  auaile: 
Pryncis  may  weel  ageyn  hym  crie  loude, 
But  his  power  may  clipse  with  no  cloude. 

For  in  the  middis  off  his  grete  emprises. 
This  proude  Nembroth  makyng  his  masouns 
For  to  compasse  and  castyn  there  deuises, 
Gemetriens  in  ther  dyuysiouns,  — 
But  God  that  hath  his  inspecciouns, 
Seyng  thentent  off  eueri  ertheli  man. 
As  he  that  is  most  myhti  and  best  can 

Ageyn  ther  malis  make  resistence, 
Ther  worldli  power,  ther  domynacioun 
Off  his  onchaungable  &  most  magnificence 

1 174.   rage]  Ragous  H,  ragious  R  3,  P. 
1 1 88.   fame]  name  H. 
1 197.   clipse]  clippe  R. 
1 199.    masouns]  mansiouns  H. 

1201.   Gemetriens]  Geometrj^ens  R,  Geometries  H  5,  Geme- 
tries  J,  Geraetriciens  R  3,  Gemetriens  H,  P. 

itarted  to 
build  a  new 

He  would 
have  snatched 
the  heaveni 
from  God, 

1 184 

1 188 



but  God 
know*  the 
1200    mindi  of  all 



The  Story  of  Nimrod 

[bk.  I 

and  can 
punish  the 
pride  of 

God  made  a 
confusion  of 

and  divided 
the  hearts  of 
the  work- 

They  quar- 
relled with 
one  another 
and  forsook 
the  land  of 

efforts  were 
in  vain. 

He  can  chastise  and  ouerwhelme  doun  —  1208 

The  pride  off  pryncis  in  eueri  regioun, 
Bexauwple  off  Nembroth,  a-noon  as  ye  shal  heer, 
Whos  pompe  rauhte  a-boue  the  stems  deer. 

For  whan  his  werkmen  stood  at  auauntage,  1212 

And  most  were  besi  to  his  entencioun, 

And  to-fortyme  spak  al  o  language, 

Al  sodenli  be  transmutacioun 

Ther  was  off  tunges  maad  a  dyuysioun,  1216 

That  in  ther  werkyng  as  thei  gan  abraide, 

No  man  wiste  what  that  othir  saide. 

And  it  is  likli  accordyng  with  resouw,  [p.  17] 

So  as  the  chaung  was  maad  off  ther  languages,     1220 

So  off  ther  hertis  was  maad  dyuysiouw, 

Bothe  off  ther  will,  and  off  ther  corages; 

And  in  descendyng  off  ther  werkyng  stages, 

Ther  was  such  chaung  off  brother  onto  brother,   1224 

Lik  strauMgers  noon  knew  thentent  off  other. 

Myn  auctour  trowith  that  this  dyuersite 

Was  for  ther  gilt  causid  be  vengauwce, 

And  ellis  God  off  riht  and  equite  1228 

Disposid  hath  in  his  ordenauwce 

To  been  a-mong  hem  so  gret  a  variauwce, 

That  thoruh  the  world  thei  sholde  hewself  deuyde, 

And  from  Nembroth  disseuere  &  nat  a-bide.         1232 

Thei  gan  a-noon  a-mong  hemsilff  disdeyne 

To  accepte  this  Nembroth  for  ther  kyng; 

Yit  a-mong  hem,  in  soth  ther  wer  nat  tweyne 

Oon  off  a-nother  that  hadde  cleer  knowyng,  1236 

Nor  off  ther  speche  that  knew  the  pleyn  menyng: 

For  which  the  contre  off  Sennar  thei  forsook, 

And  ech  off  hem  a  sondri  contre  took. 

Thei  departid,  made  no  lengere  spacis, 
Folwyng  the  fortune  off  ther  dyuysioun, 
And  gan  to  chese  hem  newe  duellyng  placis 
In  the  parties  off  many  a  regioun; 
And  thus  Nembroth  was  pryued  &  put  doun. 
And  off  Babel,  the  myhti  famous  tour, 
He  was  no  lengere  callid  possessour: 



1220.  maad]  om.  H. 

1244.  thus]  this  H. 

BK.  Q  The  Story  of  Nimrod  35 

.  For  a-geyn  the  pride  off  this  Nembroth  ^'a^TI,'^'^ 

rroward  fortune  gan  hir  cours  to  vane,  1248 

And  God  also  was  in  maner  wroth. 
Off  surquedie  that  he  was  so  contrarie; 
And  for  the  place  was  wilde  and  solitarie 
Off  this  Sennar,  furious  and  sauage,  1252 

Nembroth  gan  feeble  &  falle  into  gret  age. 

And  5at  summe  bookis  off  hym  specefie,  b^kf"' 

He  wix  froward  off  his  condicioun,  ^«  '^»»  ^^ 

And  was  first  ground  off  ydolatrie  1256  idolatry. 

And  fyndere  up  off  fals  relegioun, 

Causyng  peeplis  to  haue  openyoun 

Goddis  to  worshepe  in  paganysme  wise, 

Foundour  off  rihtis  and  off  fals  sacrefise.  1260 

Toward  Perce  he  ches  his  duellyng-place. 

Which  contre  is  in  the  orient;  h^  ^^^  ^^ 

That  his  lordship  sholde  strecch  a  gret[e]  space,  •""*  '"*  ^'^^ 

He  bounded  hym  into  the  Occident:  1264 

For  Perce-lond  haueth  his  extent 

Toward  the  parties  of  the  Rede  Se; 

And  this  land  Perce,  who-so  list  [to]  see. 

As  bookis  olde  remembre  and  put  in  mvnde  —     1268  /"'^  7H. 

TT  I  r>  •      1  •  '''°'°  Media 

rlow  that  rerce  costeieth  enviroun  »  Gennany. 

Septemtrion  and  the  grettere  Inde 

And  many  a-nothir  myhti  regioun, 

Wher  Nembroth  first  hadde  domynacioun,  1272 

Which  extendith,  as  bookis  specefie, 

Out  off  Mede  into  Germanye. 

But  in  lordshipes,  as  myn  auctour  seith.  There  u  no 

Withoute  that  vertu  be  ther  trewe  guide,  1276  •of'^sbip"'* 

In  hem  ther  is  suraunce  noon  nor  feith  —  grodneL. 

Thyng  that  passith,  which  may  no  while  abide; 

Wherfore  Bochas,  in  despit  off  pride 

And  in  rebukyng  off  all  folkis  proude,  1280 

Makyng  his  compleynt  crieth  to  hem  ful  loude: 

1255.  wix  B,  R,  wexe  J,  wexe  H  5,  P,  wex  R  3. 
1265.  haueth]  hath  H.  J. 
1267.   this]  his  this  R. 

1280.  in]om.  H. 

1281.  Makyng]  Maketh  R. 


An  Exclamation  against  Proud  Men 

[bk.  I 

You  who 
are  proud, 
who  trust  to 
reign  long, 

build  your 
huge  castles, 
let  your  men- 
at-arms  keep 

as  if  God 
were  unable 
to  take 
on  you! 

Set  before 
your  blind 
eyes  the 
pride  of 

Though  your 
power  be 
great,  God 
will  con- 
found ycm. 

f  The  mater  ageyn  l)e  pride  of  princis. 

[An  exclamacioun  of  Bochas  ageyn  al  proude  men/ 
shewyng  how  god  may  them  and  theire  pride 
whan  him  best  list  by  many  dyuers  menes  and 
wayes  punysshe  &  chastise.]  ^ 

YE  all  proude,  most  royall  in  yoi^r  flouris, 
Which  that  most  truste  for  to  regne  longe, 
Dressith  up  yo^^r  rochis  &  your  touris,  1284 

And  ageyn  God  make  your-siluen  stronge, 
And  lat  your  power  proudll  vndirfonge 
Your-silfF  with  pride  for  to  magnefie, 
Ageyns  the  heuene  to  holden  chauwpartie.  1288 

Beeldith  your  castelHs,  reiseth  hem  vp  on  heihte 
Off  adamantis  [with  iren]  stronge  Ibounde, 
With  squar[e]  stonys,  large  &  huge  off  weihte, 
Reise  up  yo^r  wallis,  most  myhti  and  profouwde,  1292 
And  shet  your  dongouws  with  myhti  cheynys  rounde. 
Let  men  off  armys,  who-euer  wake  or  sleepe, 
Nyht  &  day  your  wacch  so  streihtli  keepe, 

As  God  nor  man,  in  your  opynyouws,      [p.  18] 
Your  forteressis  ne  myhte  nat  assaile. 
Your  castellis  nor  your  stronge  dongouns 
Stujffid  with  men  and  plente  off  vitaile, 
Lik  to  stonde  euere  and  neuere  for  to  faile, 
As  God  nat  myhte  a-geyn  your  fals  puissauwce 
Whan-euer  hym  list  off  riht.  to  do  vengaunce! 

Settith  afforn  your  eyen  that  be  blynde 
The  monstruous  werk  off  grete  Babilouw; 
The  pride  off  Nembroth  ther  was  put  behynde, 
Maugre  his  myht,  and  his  tour  smet  doun: 
For  al  the  crafft  off  werkman  or  masoun 
Destroied  was  with  a  sodeyn  leuene, 
Tauenge  his  pride  sent  a-dou«  fro  heuene. 

For  thouh  your  strengthes  so  assurid  be, 
That  noon  engyn  may  therto  atteyne, 
Gunne  nor  buwbard  hi  no  subtilite, 





1290.   with  iren]  om.  B,  R,  H,  R  3,  P; 

bounde  H  5. 
1293.   myhti  cheynys]  cheynes  myhti  R. 
1289,98.  CastettH. 
13 12.    Bombard  H. 

^  MS.  J.  leaf  7  verso. 


with  Irons  stronge 

BK.  l] 

An  Exclamation  against  Proud  Men 


Shot  off  arblast  nor  touch  off  dundeyne; 
Yit  God  that  is  lord  and  souereyne, 
Which  lich  desertis  can  bothe  spille  and  saue, 
Mai  al  confounde  with  an  erthe-quaue. 

Myn  auctour  axith,  what  castel  or  what  tour 

May  be  so  strong[e]  maad  in  any  wise, 

But  that  be  mene  off  sum  fals  tretour, 

Or  be  sum  weie  that  he  can  deuise, 

Jt  may  be  lost  or  sold  for  couetise 

And  delyuered,  for  al  ther  stronge  bondis. 

Into  the  power  off  enmyes  hondis. 

Or  bi  sum  other  sodeyn  auenture, 

Castellis,  citees  and  many  a  riche  toun 

Han  been  lost;  thei  myhte  hem  nat  assure 

For  to  resiste  a-geyn[e]s  fals  tresoun: 

Summe  ha  be  lost  eek  bi  rebellioun; 

And  alle  these  menys,  the  trouthe  to  be-gynne, 

Ys  but  punshyng  which  God  sent  for  synne. 

God  hath  a  thousand  handis  to  chastise, 

A  thousand  dartis  off  punycioun, 

A  thousand  bowes  maad  in  vnkouth  wise, 

A  thousand  arblastis  bent  in  his  dongoun, 

Ordeyned  echon  for  castigacioun; 

But  where  he  fynt  meeknesse  &  repentaunce, 

Mercy  is  maistresse  off  his  ordynaunce. 

Ye  that  be  wise,  considreth  how  the  roote 

Off  vicis  alle  is  pride,  ye  may  weel  see; 

Pullith  hym  doun  and  put  hym  vndir  foote 

And  tak  your  counseil  off  humilite: 

And  yff  ye  list  [to]  stonde  in  surete, 

Beeldith  in  herte  for  mor  sekimesse 

A  tour  off  vertues  groundid  on  meeknesse, 

Whos  masonrie  is  off  no  costage, 

Off  vertues  ground  and  souereyne, 

Blast  off  wy^ndis  and  off  wedris  rage. 

Nor  no  tempest  hasti  nor  sodeyne, 

Pompe  nor  host,  thouh  thei  doon  her  peyne, 








TLe  strongeat 
c^  castles 
may  be  lost 
by  treasm 



or  rebeilk>a. 

God  can 
punish  if  he 
wili,  and 
shew  mercy 
where  he 
find*  re- 

Pride  Is  the 
root  of  all 
vices;  build 
in  your 
hearts  a 
tower  of 

It  will  stand 

13 13.  aroweblast  J,  arrowblast  H  5  —  dundejTie]  dundeyne  R, 
Dondeyn  H,  don^dejne  J,  doudeyn  R  3,  dundayn  H  5, 
dondine  P.  1325.   Castetl  H. 

1335.  echon  ordej-ned  H.  1342.  to]  om.  H,  R. 


An  Exclamation  against  Proud  Men 

[bk.  I 

conquers  all 

She  may  be 
sorely  tried, 
but  she  will 
win  in  the 

This  vertu  meeknesse  for  to  vndirmyne,  — 
Thei  be  to  feeble  to  make  hire  for  tenclyne. 

For  wher  meeknesse  is  groundid  verraily,  1352 

Thouh  he  sumwhile  feele  aduersite, 

He  passith  ouer  and  sufFreth  paciently 

And  venguisshith  al  maner  enmite, 

Thassaut  also  and  the  contrariouste  1356 

OfF  infortune,  and  ofF  worldli  trouble, 

And  off  victory  conquereth  a  palme  double. 

And  thouh  meeknesse  a-myd  the  flodis  flowe 

OfF  worldli  myscheefF  and  persecucioun,  1360 

Whil  Pacience  in  hir  boot  doth  rowe, 

Thouh  froward  wawes  posse  hir  up  &  douw, 

A  calm  shal  folwe  ofF  consolacioun, 

Whan  Sterne  wyndis  ther  blastis  ha[ue]  leid  lowe,  1364 

The  name  ofF  meeknesse  shal  shewe  &  be  knowe. 

She  may  be  troublid,  but  ouercome  neuere; 

But  for  a  tyme  she  may  sulFer  werre, 

But  atte  eende  she  venquisshith  euere,  1368 

On  londe  and  se,  wher  she  be  nyh  or  ferre: 

To  the  hauene  ofF  lyfF  she  was  our  lodesterre, 

I  take  record  on  the  humylite 

OfF  Mary,  so  blissid  mut  she  be.  137a 

The  roote  ofF  meeknesse  flourith  up  so  faire, 

Whos  beute  dredith  no  tribulaciouns; 

In  somer,  wyntir  his  flouris  nat  appaire, 

And  hir  frut  last  in  al  maner  sesouns:  1376 

Pride  may  assaile  with  his  bostful  souns. 

But  fynaly  for  hir  encres  ofF  glorie. 

With  humblesse  she  wynnith  the  victorie. 

You  who 
have  read 
this  tragedy, 
take  heed  to 


OFOLKIS  all  that  this  tragedie  reede,  [p.  19]  1380 
Haueth  to  meeknesse  a-mowg  your  adu^rtence, 
OfF  proude  Nembroth  also  takith  heede, 
How  that  he  fill  from  his  magnificence, 
Onli  for  he  be  sturdi  violence  1384 

List  off  malis  the  myhti  Lord  assaile, 
But  in  such  caas  what  myht  his  pride  auaile? 

135 1,    for  tenclyne]  to  inclyne  H,  the  entire  line  is  written  in 

a  later  hand.  1370.   our]  Jie  J,  the  H  5. 

1371.  on]ofFR.  1381.   Haueth]  hath  H. 

BK.   l] 

Saturn  and  the  Process  of  Time 


Noble  Pryncis,  which  that  this  world  posseede,* 
Ye  that  be  famous  off  wisdam  and  prudence, 
And  han  so  many  subiectis,  that  you  dreede, 
In  gouemaunce  vndir  your  excellence, 
Lat  your  power  with  meeknesse  so  dispence, 
That  fals[e]  pride  oppresse  nat  the  poraile. 
Which  to  your  noblesse  so  moche  may  auaile. 

Pride  of  Nembroth  dede  the  bridil  leede, 
Which  hym  conueied  to  gret  insolence; 
Pride  apperteneth  nothyng  to  manheede, 
Sauf  in  armys  to  shewen  his  presence  — 
Wherfore  honour,  laude  and  reuerence 
Be  to  meeknesse,  that  hath  the  gouernaile 
Off  alle  vertues  man  may  most  auaile. 





[Bow  many  yeres  was  betwixt  Adam  and  Nembroth 
and  betwixt  Nembroth  and  Cadmus  and  of  other 
kynges.]  ^ 

THESE  olde  poetis  with  ther  sawes  swete 
Ful  couertli  in  ther  vers  do  feyne. 
How  olde  Satwme  was  whilom  kyng  of  Crete, 
And  off  custum  dede  his  besy  peyne, 
Off  his  godhed  list  for  to  ordeyne 
That  he  sholde,  as  off  his  nature, 
Echon  deuoure  as  by  his  engendrure. 

In  this  mateer  shortli  to  soiourne, 

To  vndirstonde  off  poetis  the  processe, 

Thei  meene  pleynli  that  this  woord  Satume 

Doth  in  it-silff  nothyng  but  tyme  expresse; 

And  philisophres  here  also  witnesse. 

That  as  in  tyme,  foorth  eu<fry  thyng  is  brouht, 

So  tyme  ageynward  bryngith  eu<rry  thing  to  nouht. 

Clerkis  recorde  eek  in  ther  writyng, 

Vndir  support  as  I  dar  reherse,  1416 

How  that  fir  wastith  euery  thyng. 

And  iren  hard  doth  nesshe  thynges  perse; 

Yiff  auht  a-bitt  that  they  may  nat  transuerse, 

Yit  comyth  tyme,  and  bi  contynuaunce, 

And  al  consumeth  with  his  sharp[e]  launce. 





and,  Princei, 
let  not  your 
pride  oppress 
the  poor. 

the  pride  of 

Saturn  was 
once  king  of 
Crete.    He 
devoured  his 
children  as 
they  were 

His  name 

means  time, 
which  brings 
all  things  to 

and  is  more 
than  iron 
or  fire. 

1387.   posseede]  do^)  posseede  B,  R,  do  possede  J,  He  —  that] 

OOT.  j,  H5.     1403.  was]  om.  H.     1407.  engendrure]  engendure  R. 
141 1,   it-silff]  t)e  silff  H.     1416.    I  is  misplaced  afur  reherse  R. 

1  MS.  J.  leaf  8  recto. 


Time  destroys  all  Things 

[bk.  I 

TTie  passing 
of  years 
causes  the 
greatness  of 
men  to  fade. 

Their  names 
are  forgotten. 

Time  wastes 
and  destroys 
all  things. 

In  the 
earliest  age 
Fortuna  was 

From  the 
time  of 
Adam  to 
Nimrod  noth- 
ing notable 

His  sharp[e]  toth  of  consumpcioun 

In  stille  wise  doth  his  besi  cure 

For  to  anentise,  in  conclusiouw,  1424 

Alle  thynge  that  is  brouht  foorth  bi  Nature, 

Bi  long  abidyng  thei  may  hem  nat  assure; 

For  olde  thyngis  deuourid  men  may  see, 

Fer  out  off  mynde,  as  thei  neuer  had  be.  1428 

Who  can  or  may  remembre  in  any  wise 

The  glorious  prowesse  off  these  pryncis  olde. 

Or  the  noblesse  of  philisophres  wise, 

Or  off  poetis  the  feynyng  to  onfolde:  1432 

Processe  off  yeris,  alias!  as  I  you  tolde, 

Deuoured  hath  ther  fame  and  ther  noblesse, 

Derkid  ther  renoun  bi  foryetilnesse. 

Thus  off  ther  namys  is  lefft  no  memory,  1436 

Tyme*  with  his  rasour  hath  doon  so  gret  vengance, 

Shauen  a-wey  the  honour  and  the  glory 

Off  many  a  noble,  ful  myhti  off  puissance. 

That  there  is  lefft  now  no  remembrance  1440 

Off  pryncis,  poetis,  nor  off  philisophres; 

For  whan  that  deth  nailed  hem  in  ther  cofres,    • 

Kam  tyme  vpon,  and  bi  processe  off  yeeris 

Ther  memory  hath  duskid  and  ther  mynde,  1444 

And  reuolucioun  off  the  heuenli  speeds, 

Bi  offte  turnyng  ther  glory  hath  lefft  behynde: 

Thus  euery  thyng  which  subiect  is  to  Kynde, 

Is*  in  this  liff  withoute  mor  auauntage  1448 

Wastid  with  tyme  and  processe  off  long  age. 

In  the  firste  age  from  Adam  to  Noe, 

Prudent  listres,  which  list  in  bookis  reede, 

Fynde  off  Fortune  no  mutabilite,  145a 

Nor  off  hir  chaungis  took[e]  tho  noon  hede; 

But  from  Adam  ther  reknyd  been  in  deede 

Onto  Nembroth,  bi  turnyng  off  the  heuene, 

A  thousand  yeer,  seuene  huwdrid  and  elleuene.     1456 

In  which[e]  space,  who  that  considreth  weel, 
Ther  be  no  thyngis  write  in  special,* 
Digne  off  memorie  nor  spoke  off  neueradeel, 

1424.  aventisshe  J,  anentissh  H  5.       1432.    feynyng]  feyng  R. 

1437.  Tyme]  Tymes  B,  R.       1443-   and]  om.  R. 

1445.  And]  And  the  R  —  the]  om.  R. 

1448.  Is]  As  B,  R.       1450.   to]  vn  to  H.       1457.   considre  H. 

1458.  write]  writen  R  —  special]  especial  B. 

BK.  i]  Fixoses  and  Tbanaus  41 

Which  that  be  notable  nor  historial;  1460 

But  fro  the  tyme  Nembroth  hadde  a  fal, 

Onto  Cadmus  the  yeeris  to  contene, 

Thei  were  a  thousand,  foure  hundrid  &  fourtene. 

Touchyng  [this]  Cadmus,  as  Bochas  list  Uie'fim'SSg 

tendite,  [p.  20]  1464  "^  ^gypt. 

It  is  rehercid  bi  rethoriciens. 
How  oon  Vixoses,  in  bookis  as  thei  write, 
Was  maad  first  kyng  off  the  Egipciens,* 
Where  philisophres  &  nygromanciens  1468 

Gan  first  tabounde  ther  renoun  to  auaunce, 
Nachor  that  tyme  hau>Tig  the  gouemaunce 

Off  the  Hebreus,  as  maad  is  mencioun  —  ^^^^ 

Afftir  Nembroth,  bi  trewe  rehersaile,  1472  ^*  J'"- 
Thre  hundred  yeer  bi  computacioun. 

Four  score  &  tuelue,  which  tyme,  it  is  no  faile,  lu^EBTtr? 

That  Vixorses  gan  to  werre  &  eek  bataile  might  of 

Off  volunte  geyn  straunge  naciouns,  1476  his  name 
And  to  conquere  citees,  burwes  [&]  touns.  foi^nen. 

Bi  force  onli,  withoute  title  off  riht, 

He  wan  al  Egipt  to  encrece  his  name; 

But  for  al  that,  who  list  to  haue  a  siht,  1480 

There  is  now  lefft  no  report  off  his  fame, 

Sauf  Bochas  writ,  how  he  first  dede  attame 

His  myhti  conquest  off  entencioun 

That  the  glory  and  the  hih  renoun  1484 

Ascryued  were  onto  his  worthynesse,  |^^  ^^ei 

And  the  residue  and  the  surplusage  S^SJ^ 

Off  gold,  off  tresor,  off  good  &  off  richesse 

Tume  sholde  to  comoun  auauntage  14SS 

Off  al  his  peeple,  that  euery  maner  age 

Reporte  myhte,  it  was  to  hym  mor  nerre 

Boue  syngulerte  his  comoun  to  preferre. 

q  Eek  Thanaus  off  Cithie  first  kyng,  1492  'S^^^ 

Whan  Saruch  was  duk  &  souereyne  '  Scythu. 

Ouer*  the  lewes,  be  record  off  writyng,  — 

1463.   foure]  iiij  B.     1464.   this]  om.  R,  H. 

1467.  The  gipciens  B.     1470.   Nakor  H.     1474.   twelue]  xij  B. 

1475.   Vixorses  B,  R,  Vixoses  J,  H,  H  5,  P,  vixioses  R  3  — 

werre]  werrej'  H. 
1479.   to  encrece]  tencres  of  H,  to  encrease  of  P,  to  thencrece 

R  3.         1481.   fame]  name  R.       1491.   s\-ngulert  R. 
1492.  Thanaus]  tanaus  R,   Thonans  J,  Thomvs  H,  Thomas 

H  5,  P,   thanas  R.  3.  1494.   Ouer]  Euer  B,  R. 


Zoroaster  and  Ninus 

I^BK.  I 

His  name  too 
is  forgotten. 

Of  Zoroaster 
we  know 
nothing,  ex- 
cept that  he 
laughed  the 
hour  he  was 

Ninus  was 



Such  men 
are  never 
satisfied  until 
casts  them 

Too  hundred  yeer,  sexti  and  eek  tweyne 

AfFtir  Nembroth,  this  Tanaus  gan  ordeyne  1496 

A  myhti  power  and  a  strong  bataile 

Hem  off  Cithie  proudli  to  assaile, 

Conqueryng  fro  thens  onto  the  ile 

CalHd  Ponto,  in  ful  cruel  wise:  1500 

And  thouh  his  lordship  last  nat  but  a  while, 

Al  that  he  wan,  it  was  for  couetise; 

And  as  Bochas  doth  off  these  folk  deuise, 

Processe  off  yeris,  for  al  ther  gret  puissauwce,       1504 

Hath  put  ther  namys  out  off  remembraunce. 

^  Zorastres  eek,  for  al  his  grete  myht. 

Off  Bactrians  kyng  and  possessour, 

Lord  off  Trace  and  a  ful  manli  knyht,  1508 

OfF  all  his  dedis  and  off  his  gret  labour. 

Off  his  conquest  nor  off  his  gret  honour 

Is  nothyng  lefFt,  off  writyng  us  beforn, 

Sauf  that  he  louh  the  hour  whan  he  was  born.      1512 

He  began  ful  soone  to  be  merie. 

With  sodeyn  lauhtir  at  his  natyuyte; 

And  worthy  Nynus,  that  was  kyng  oflF  Assirie, 

Expowned  his  lauhtre  to  gret  felicite,  1516 

The  which[e]  Nynus  wan  many  a  strauwge  cuntre, 

And  day  be  day  his  power  gan  encrese. 

For  which  he  wolde  off  his  conquest  nat  cese. 

For  this  the  maner  off  these  conqueroures:  1520 

Whan  thei  haue  had  in  armis  o  victorie, 

Thei  do  ther  myht,  ther  peyne  &  ther  laboures 

With  newe  emprises  to  be  put  in  memorie; 

For  ther  corages,  supprisid  with  veynglorie,  1524 

Can  nat  be  stille  content  in  ther  estat 

Til  her  parodie  sey  to  hem  chek-maat. 

Fortune  ofF  armys,  in  bookis  ye  may  reede. 

With  a  fals  lauhtre  on  folkis  thouh  she  smyle,      1528 

She  froward  euere,  or  thei  can  takyn  heede, 

OfF  hit  nature  will  falsly  hem  be-gyle; 

Conquest  bi  werre  lastith  but  a  whyle, 

1496.  Tanaus]  thauance  P,  Thomvs  H,  Thomas  H  5. 

1499.  onto]  In  to  H.        1500.   Ponto]  Ponte  J. 

1506.  Zorastres]  Zorastes  R  j,  Zoroastres  P,  Zorastees  R. 

1511.  toforn  H.       1513.   fulj  wol  R. 

1520.  maner]  mateer  R. 

1528.  a]  om.  R  —  folkis]  bookis  H. 

BK.  l3 

Zoroaster  and  Ninus 


For  who  bi  deth  doth  sturdi  violense,  1532 

God  will  bi  deth  his  vengaunce  recompense. 

^  This  worthy  Nynus  gan  myhtili  preuaile 

A-geyn  Zorastres,  off  whom  I  spak  tofore; 

For  he  with  hym  fauht  last  in  bataile,  1536 

In  which  Nynus  hath  hym  so  weel  Ibore, 

That  Zorastres  hath  the  feeld  Ilore. 

And  he  was  auctour,  as  bookis  specefie, 

Off  fals  magik  and  off  nygromancie.  1540 

He  fond  the  nature  off  euery  element, 

Ther  kyndeli  werkyng  &  ther  mutaciouns, 

The  cours  off  sterris  &  off  the  firmament, 

Ther  influencis,  ther  disposiciouns,  1544 

Ther  aspectis  and  ther  coniuncciouns, 

Wrot  in  peleris  deuised  off  metall 

The  seuene  sciencis  callid  liberall. 

Eek  in  pilers  off  brik  ful  harde  Ibake,     [p.  21]     1548 

Which  were  up  set,  longe,  large  &  huge. 

He  gan  eek  write  hem  &  to  vndirtake 

To  make  hem  seur,  as  for  ther  refuge. 

That  thei  sholde  be  flood  nor  [no]  deluge  1552 

Diffacid  been,  as  off  ther  scripture. 

But  in  ther  grauyng  perpetueli  endure. 

But  thouh  Zorastres  this  crafft  first  out  fond, 
Ful  lite  or  nouht  to  hym  it  myhte  auaile; 
And  thouh  he  were  a  good  knyht  off  his  bond, 
He  was  off  Nynus  slay[e]n  in  bataile, 
Loste  his  rewm  and  royal  apparaile; 
And  Nynus  deide  withynne  a  litil  throwe, 
But  in  what  wise  the  story  is  nat  knowe. 

^  Eek  Moides  kyng  off  Sodomee, 
I  fynde  off  hym  no  memory  be  writyng, 
Sauff  in  a  story,  as  men  may  reede  and  see. 
He  and  his  peeple  were  fre  in  ther  lyuyng; 
But  he  that  was  off  Assiriens  kyng, 
Thoruh  fals  Fortune,  that  can  so  offte  varie. 
To  Babiloyne  made  hem  tributarie. 

Ninui  de- 
who  wrote 
books  o£ 




and  caused 
the  seven 
sciences  to 
be  inscribed 
on  strong 
pillars,  tnat 
they  might 

But  Nina* 
slew  him 
in  battle, 
and  looa 
after  he 
also  died. 

The  people  oi 
Sodom  were 
free  in  their 


IS35-  A-geyn]  geyn  H  —  to  forn/r  H. 

1548.  brik]  breke  H. 

1552.  no]  om.  R,  H  5. 

1554.  endure]  to  endure  R. 

1567.  ofFten  H. 

1537.   bom/  H. 


Moses  and  Pharaoh 

[]bk.  I 

Pharaoh  and 
his  men  were 
drowned  in 
the  Red  Sea, 

but  Moses 
and  the  Jews 
passed  safely. 

In  Exodus 
we  read 
about  the 

and  how  the 
Jews  robbed 
the  Egyptians. 

Pharaoh  pur- 
sued them, 
but  lost  his 
life  because 
he  was 
proud  and 

^  We  han  eek  sey[e]n  and  rad  also 

The  vengaunces  and  the  pestilence 

Doon  in  Egipt  to  kyng  Pharao, 

For  that  he  made  a  maner  resistence  1572 

Ageyn[e]s  God,  off  wilful  necligence; 

Therfore  his  peeple  vpon  a  day  and  he 

Were  dreynt  echon  amyd  the  Rede  Se. 

The  peeplis  off  God  lad  be  Moyses,  1576 

Withoute  trouble  off  any  maner  wawe, 

Wente  echon  sauf  in  quiete  &  in  pes; 

And  Pharao,  as  he  gan  afFtir  drawe 

Hem  to  pursue,  bi  a  ful  mortal  lawe,  1580 

In  his  pursut  froward  and  atteynt, 

A-mong  the  wawes  with  his  host  was  dreynt. 

In  Exodo  ben  the  menciouns 

Ceriousli  put  in  remembrauwce,  1584 

The  twelue  plages  and  persecuciouns 

In  Egipt  doon,  bi  ful  gret  vengaunce; 

And  off  ther  tresor  &  ther  gret  substauwce 

Thei  were  despoilid  bi  Hebreus,  it  is  told,  1588 

Off  ther  vesselis  off  siluer  &  off  gold. 

And  out  off  Egipt  ful  gret  tresor  thei  ladde, 

Such  as  thei  thouhte  myhte  hem  most  auaile; 

And  Pharao,  I  fynde  that  he  hadde  1592 

Too  huwdrid  charis  enarmyd  for  bataile, 

Hem  to  pursue  and  proudli  to  assaile, 

And  fifti  thousand,  in  whom  ther  was  no  lak, 

Off  men  off  armys  folwyng  on  horsbak.  1596 

Too  hundred  thousand  off  footmen  hym  aboute, 

And  off  Egipt  al  this  cheualrie; 

And  Pharao  with  al  [t]his  gret[e]  route 

Gan  Israel  pursuen  off  envie,  1600 

But  for  his  pride  and  fals  surquedie. 

He  and  his  peeple  wer  drownyd  euerichon, 

Off  al  his  nouwbre  ther  was  lefft  nat  oon. 

His  froward  herte  a-geyn  God  indurat,  1604 

Fulfillid  off  malis  and  obstynacie, 

And  [in]  his  purpos  proud  and  obstynat: 

1569.  eek]  om.  J,  H  5. 

1576.  peeplis]  peeple  H.       1579-   gan]  can  R. 

1583.  exodi  J,  Exody  P,  H  5. 

1585.  twelue]  xijB.  1606.   in]  ow.  R. 

BK.  f\ 

Ogygus  of  Thebes 


These  foule  vicis,  or  he  koude  hem  espie, 
From  his  glory  and  his  regalie  1608 

He  was  cast  doun,  thouh  he  tofForn  was  crownyd, 
A-myd  the  se  a-mong  his  peeple  drownyd. 

[Off  Oggigus,  kyng  of  Thebes.]  ^ 

^  A-nothir  prynce  caUid  Oggigus, 

Kyng  off  Thebes,  as  bookis  determyne. 

And  foundour  was,  thus  Bochas  tellith  us, 

Off  a  cite  calHd  Eleusyne, 

Which  stant  in  Grece,  whos  power  to  declyne 

Ther  fill  a  flood  in  that  regioun, 

Which  ouerflowed  ful  many  a  royal  toun. 

And  in  Achaia  it  dede  most  damage, 
Tyme  off  lacob,  the  patriark  notable; 
And  this  deluge  with  his  wawes  rage 
Slouh  lordis  manye,  &  pryncis  honurable: 
For  dame  Fortune  is  so  deceyuable. 
That  she  sumwhile,  whan  she  list  disdeyne. 
Can  folk  assaile  with  a  flood  sodeyne. 

This  flood  also,  where  it  dede  assaile, 
Wastid  comys  bothe  crop  and  roote, 
Causid  also  scarsete  off  vetaile. 
That  many  a  man  felte  ful  vnsoote; 
The  pore  nat  wiste  wher  to  fynde  boote. 
For  ther  pryncis  supprisid  were  with  dreed, 
Thoruh  lak  off  vitaile  in  that  grete  need. 

Eleusis  ia 



where  there 
was  a  great 
flood  in  the 
-  time  of 

1020    Jacob. 



[Off  a  grete  Flood  in  Tessalie.]  * 

fl  Anothir  flood  there  was  in  Thessalie,    [p.  22]    1632 

In  the  tyme  whan  kyng  Amphioun 

Heeld  the  sceptre  and  the  regalie 

Vpon  Thebes  the  myhti  stronge  toun, 

Beside  the  kyngdam  off  Semalioun,  1636 

This  same  tyme,  this  flood,  ful  dout[e]les, 

Whan  Goddis  peeple  was  lad  be  Moises. 

With  this  flood  the  land  hadde  be  deuourid 

Off  Thessalie,  and  al  that  regiouw,  1640 

But  on  Pemaso  the  peeple  was  socourid. 

1639.  the]  this  H. 

^  MS.  J.  leaf  9  recto. 

There  wa« 
another  flood 
in  Thessaly, 

but  the 
people  found 
refuge  on 
the  hills  of 

*  MS.  J.  leaf  9  verso. 


The  Story  of  his 

[bk.  I 

reign  in 
Athens,  there 
was  a  plague 
of  heat 

called  the 
of  Phaeton. 

I  sis,  daughter 
of  Prometheus, 
married  Apis, 
king  of 

She  was  very 
and  a  ward 
of  her  uncle 

Jupiter  fell 
m  love  with 

And  on  the  rochis  that  stoden  enviroun 

Fond  ther  refut,  to  ther  sauaciouw, 

And  gret  socour,  til  the  flodis  rage  1644 

Gan  disencrece,  withdrawen  &  asswage. 

^  In  olde  stories  ye  may  also  see, 

Whan  Cicraps  hadde  first  possessioun 

Off  Athenes  the  myhti  strong  cite,  1648 

An  heete  ther  fill  in  that  regeoun. 

Be  influence  that  descendid  doun 

From  all  the  bodies  aboue  celestiall. 

Which  likli  was  for  to  deuouren  all.  1652 

And  this  hete  engendrid  off  the  suwne, 

In  dyuers  cuntrees,  bothe  in  lengthe  &  breede. 

Hath  his  cours  so  myhtili  begunwe 

That  many  folkis  fillyn  in  gret  dreede  —  1656 

Ryuers,  wellis,  who  that  list  taken  heede, 

Consumed  were  and  dreied  up  echon, 

The  hete  callid  thenbracyng  off  Pheton. 

[]Off  goodly  Isis,  Wiff  to  Apys  kyng  of  Arg3rue  slajm 
bi  his  broJ)er  T3^eus.]  ^ 

^  We  haue  eek  rad  in  stories  heer-tofForn,  1660 

How  that  Ysis  to  Egipt  took  hir  fliht 

Out  off  Grece,  the  trewe  doubter  born 

Off  Promotheus,  a  ful  manly  knyht; 

And  this  Ysis  in  euery  manwys  siht  1664 

So  fressh,  so  goodli,  weddid  bi  hir  lyue 

To  worthi  Apis,  that  was  kyng  off  Argyue. 

The  which  Ysis,  excellyng  off  beute, 

Afftyr  tyme  hir  fadir  was  Igraue,  1668 

She  was  Iput  for  mor  surete 

With  hir  vncle,  that  sholde  keepe  &  saue 

This  seid[e]  maide,  that  no  man  sholde  hir  haue; 

And  hir  vncle,  in  Ouyde  ye  may  see,  1672 

Lik  as  he  writ,  was  callid  Epymethe. 

And  flouryng  up  in  hir  tendir  age. 

This  seid  Ysis  so  plesant  was  &  meete, 

Off  semlynesse,  off  look  &  off  visage,  1676 

1644.  til]  to  H. 

1646.   also  may  H,  R  3,  all  so  Je  may  H  5,  also  ye  may  P. 
1651.   scelestiall  H.  1653.   ofT]  first  of  H. 

1657.   list  taken]  listen  talc  R.  1668.   tyme]  om.  R. 

1669.  put  R,  R  3,  putte  H  5.        1671.  This]  )^t  H. 
^MS.  J.  leaf  9  verso. 

BK.  i} 

The  Story  of  Isis 


That  lubiter,  the  myhti  kyng  off  Creete, 
Was  enamerid  with  hir  for  to  meete; 
And  she,  excitid  off  femyn^te, 
Enclynyd  hir  herte  onto  his  deite. 

And  for  she  was  off  hir  entent  so  cleene, 

Obeieng  hym  in  most  lowH  wise, 

Off  Argyuois  he  maad  hir  to  be  queene. 

Because  that  she  was  smet  in  couetise, 

Ageyn  Argus  a  werre  she  gan  deuise, 

And  for  he  was  vnweeldi  off  his  age, 

Hir  to  withstonde  he  fond  non  auauntage. 

But  yit  Fortune  gan  vp[on]  hir  frowne, 
And  kyng  Argus  thoruh  his  subtilite. 
With  his  counseil  so  prudentli  gan  rowne. 
That  she  was  take  bi  ful  gret  cruelte, 
And  hir  soudeours  were  eek  made*  to  fle; 
And  bi  Argus,  ther  geyned  no  ransoun, 
She  fetrid  was  &  put  in  strong  presoun. 

But  hir  sone,  the  god  Mercurius, 
Riht  fressh,  riht  lusti  &  ful  off  hardynesse. 
And  off  his  herte  inU  coraious, 
AgeyTi[es]  Argus  gan  his  power  dresse, 
And  so  entierli  dede  his  besynesse 
That  he  was  slay[e]n,  in  conclusioun, 
And  Ysis  afftir  delyuerid  fro  prisoun. 

Off  hir  sleihtis  afftirward  nat  feynt. 

She  took  a  ship  and  into  Egipt  wente. 

In  which[e]  ship  ther  was  a  cow  depeynt; 

And  Mercury,*  whom  lupiter  eek  sent, 

Is  gon  with  hir,  bothe  off  oon  entent. 

To  make  a  mariage  afftir  a-noon  riht 

Twen  hir  and  Apis,  a  prynce  off  ful  gret  myht. 

She  was  riht  wis  boue*  othir  creatures, 
Secret  off  cunnj-ng,  weel  expert  in  science, 
She  tauhte  first  lettres  and  figures 
To  Gipciens  be  pleyn  experience. 
Gaff  hem  cunnyng  and  intelligence 


and  made 
her  queen  of 
the  Arrives. 
She  warred 
on  Argnt, 


1688    who  captured 
her  and  put 
her  in  prison. 


but  her  ton 
1696    Jew  Ai^s 
and  Kt  her 


She  then 
took  ship  to 
EgTpt  and 
married  Apis. 



She  taught 
the  Egyp- 
tians how  to 
write  and  to 
till  their 

1680.  deite]  darte  R.  1688.  vpon]  vp  R. 
1692.  madej  fayn  B,  R  —  eek]  also  J,  H  5. 
1705.   Mercur>-j  Cheurie  R,  B,  Cheuerj'  H,  thouris  J,  thoures 

H  5,  Mercun-  P. 
1709.   boue]  aboue  B,  R,  H,  J,  P,  H  5. 


The  Story  of  Isis 

[bk.  I 

and  wag 
as  a  goddess. 

Apis,  her 
husband,  son 
of  Jupiter 
and  Niobe, 

was  cruelly 
slain  by  his 

and  after- 
wards be- 
came the 
god  Serapis. 

To  tile  ther  land,  tauhte  ther  laborerls 
To  sowe  ther  greyn  &  multeplie  bl  yeris. 

And  In  Egipt  hir  fame  and  hir  renoun     [p.  23]     1716 

Gan  day  be  day  wexe  and  hir  worthynesse, 

Holde  off  cunnyng  and  reputacioun 

Be  signes  shewed,  nat  onli  a  pryncesse, 

But  she  was  holde  a-mong  hem  a  goddesse,  1720 

And  with  worshepis  which  that  were  dyuyne 

And  sacrefises,  to  hir  thei  dede  enclyne. 

But  to  declare  pleynli  at  a  woord, 

A-myd[des]  al  hir  gret  prosperite,  1724 

Myhti  Apis,  hir  husbonde  and  hir  lord, 

Prynce  off  Egipt  and  duk  off  that  cuntre, 

Sone  off  lubiter  and  off  Nyobe, 

Which  Nyobe,  bi  lynage  descendyng,  1728 

The  doubter  was  off  Phoroneus  the  kyng  — 

^  And  Phoroneus  first  the  lawes  fond 

To  which  al  Grece  stant  vndir  obeissauwce, 

And  the  statutis  off  that  myhti  lond  1732 

Were  establisshid  bi  his  ordynauwce  — 

But  for  to  write  the  vnhappi  chauwce 

Off  kyng  Apis,  as  it  is  remembrid. 

He  slay[e]n  was  and  pitousli  dismembrid  1736 

Bi  his  brother  callid  Tiffeus, 

Sumwhat  off  hatrede,  but  mor  for  couetise; 

For  Tiffeus  was  inli  desirous 

To  reioishe  in  ful  mortal  wise  1740 

The  myhti  kyngdam,  as  ye  ban  herd  deuise, 

Off  Argyuoys  to  haue  possessioun, 

Preferrid  be  moordre  &  fals  successioun. 

And  whan  that  Ysis  fond  hir  lord  so  ded,  1744 

Off  entent  that  he  were  magnefied. 

First  off  wisdam  she  gan  takyn  heed, 

Ordeyned  a  mene  that  he  were  deified, 

Hih  a-mong  goddis  to  be  stellefied,  1748 

In  Egipt  templis  maad  hym  to  be  stallid, 

And  god  Serapis  afftir  he  was  callid. 

1718.  and]  &  ofF  R. 

1720.  a-mong  hem]  ther  R. 

1738.  off]  for  H. 

1743.  fals]  bi  R. 

BK.  l] 

Erysicbtbon  and  Danaus 




QO]ff  Grisiton  ^at  hes  membres  ete  for  hunger.]  ^ 

^  What  shal  I  write  ofF  the  cas  horrible 
Off  Erisiton,  with  hungir  so  constreynyd, 
That  his  lifF  was  to  hymsilfF  odible, 
In  ThesaUe  with  indigence  peynyd; 
And  pitousH  his  fame  was  disteynyd, 
Whan  he  solde  his  doubter  in  seruage, 
Liriope,  which  was  but  yong  off  age, 

Beschaung  off  gold  to  purueie  hym  vitaile. 

Off  verray  neede  he  was  so  wo-begon; 

He  hadde  no  thyng  that  myhte  his  thrust  auaile,  1760 

Nor  staunche  his  hungir  with  gnawyng  on  a  bon, 

WTierfore  he  eet  his  membris  oon  bi  oon. 

A  prynce,  alias,  was  it  nat  pite 

To  seen  hym  deie  in  such  aduersite! 

^  We  ban  eek  rad,  ful  many  a  day  tofor. 
The  grete  baneshyng  and  proscripcioun, 
Off  Argyuois  how  kyng  Gelanor 
Was  crueli  put  from  his  regeoun; 
And  his  lieges,  off  indignacioun. 
In  his  place  thei  sette  oon  Danaus, 
Sone  and  eek  heir  onto  the  god  Belus. 

The  peeple  off  malis  dede  hym  so  encoumbre, 

Tencrece  his  sorwe  and  his  aduersite. 

And  fifti  douhtren  he  hadde  also  in  noumbre, 

And  Egistus  his  brother,  eek  parde 

Hadde  fifti  sones,  the  story  ye  may  see, 

Atween  the  which  bi  surete  off  bond 

In  mariage  there  was  maad  a  bond, 

Vndir  which  compassid  was  tresoun, 

Couertli  thouh  thei  dede  it  hide. 

But  yiff  ye  list  ban  cleer  inspeccioun 

Off  this  story  vpon  eueri  side, 

Redith  the  legende  of  martirs  off  Cupide, 

Which  that  Chaucer,  in  ordre  as  thei  stood, 

Compiled  off  women  that  were  callid  good. 

told  hi* 
for  huoger. 

and  after- 
ward*, alas, 
ate  hit 







founder  of 

had  fifty 
who  married 
the  fifty  sons 
ol  i£gyptu*. 

You  will  find 
their  story  in 

1752.  Erisiton]  Grisiton  J,  P,  Grisitoun  H  5,  Herisiten  R  3. 

1755.  fame]  name  R. 

1771.  the]  om.  R. 

1783.  Redith]  Reed  R— off]  &  R. 

*  MS.  J.  leaf  10  recto. 



who  also 
told  the 
tale  of 
and  Procne. 

It  were  pre- 
eumption  for 
me  to  tell  it 

I  will  go  on 
to  Cadmus; 

but  I  am 
terry  that 
there  are  so 
few  good 
women  to 
write  about. 



The  Tale  of  Philomela  and  Procne 

^  Touchyng  the  story  off  kyng  Pandioun, 
And  off  his  goodli  faire  douhtren  tweyne, 
How  Thereus,  fals  off  condicioun, 
Hem  to  deceyue  dede  his  besi  peyne, 
Thei  bothe  namyd,  off  beute  souereyne, 
Goodli  Progne  and  yong[e]  Philomene, 
Bothe  innocentis  and  ofF  entent  ful  cleene. 

Ther  pitous  fate  in  open  to  expresse, 

It  were  to  me  but  a  presumpcioun, 

Sithe  that  Chaucer  dede  his  besynesse 

In  his  legende,  as  maad  is  menciouw,  1796 

Ther  martirdam  and  ther  passioun, 

For  to  reherse*  hem  dede  his  besy  peyne, 

As  cheef  poete  caUid  off  Breteyne. 

OfF  goode  women  a  book  he  dede  write,    [p.  24]    1800 

The  nouwbre  compleet*  fully  ofFnynteene; 

And  there  the  story  he  pleynli  dede  endite 

OfFTereus,  ofF  Progne  &*  Philomeene, 

Where  ye  may  seen  ther  legende,  thus  I  meene,   1804 

Doth  hem  worshepe  &  foorth  ther  lifF  doth  shewe 

For  a  cleer  merour,  because  ther  be  so  fewe. 

I  will  passe  ouer  and  speke  ofF  hem  no  more, 

And  onto  Cadmus  foorth  my  stile  dresse  —  1808 

Yit  in  my  writyng  it  greueth  me  sore, 

Touchyng  ofF  women  ofF  feith  or  stabilnesse, — 

Blessid  be  God,  —  I  fynde  noon  excesse; 

And  for  ther  been  so  fewe,  as  thynkith  me,  181 2 

The  goode  sholde  been  had  in  mor  deynte. 

This  tragedy 
told  about 

^  Lenvoy. 

THIS  tragedie  bereth  to  you  witnesse. 
How  Saturnus  bi  disposiciouw, 
Maliciousli  of  his  frowardnesse  1816 

Causith  in  lune  ful  gret  infecciouw. 
She  off  nature  conveieth  the  venym  douw, 
The  hair  infect,  which  no  man  may  socoure, 
Kometh  deth  a-noon,  &  all  thynge  doth  deuoure.  1820 

1787.   And]  om.  H.       1798.    reherse]  rehersen  B,  R. 

1801.  compleet]  vncompleet  B,  J,  vncomplet  H  5. 

1802.  pleynly  he  did  H. 

1803.  Tereus]  Terence  H,  Therence  R  3,  P,  Theseus  J,  H  5  — 
&]  &  off  B,  R,  H.       1804.   ther]  i>e  H. 

BK.  l] 

Jupiter,  Europa  and  Cadmus 


and  the_ 
of  princes 
and  princesses 

Princes,  re- 
member that 
Fortuna  is 

Tyme  from  Adam,  myn  auctour  doth  expresse,  two  dduges, 

Doun  to  Nembroth  bi  successioun. 

His  stile  conueied  bi  gret  auysynesse, 

From  Zorastres  to  kyng  Pharaoun;  1824 

CM  too  deluges  he  maketh  mencioun. 

In  Thesalie  the  vengaunce  gan  laboure. 

And  in  Achaia  Thebes  to  deuoure. 

Ye  haue  off  hetis  herd  the  gret  excesse,  1828 

Off  pryncis,  pryncessis  ful  gret  destruccioun, 

OfF  Egistus  the  gret[e]  wrechidnesse, 

The  furie  off  Tereus,  the  wo  off  Pandioun, 

Off  the  too  sustren  the  confusioun,  1832 

And  how  ther  fate  gan  vpon  hem  loure, 

Ther  felicite  vnwarli  to  deuoure. 

Pryncis,  Pryncessis,  your  eyen  doth  up  dresse  — 
I  meene  the  eyen  off  your  discrecioun  —  1836 

Seeth  off  this  world  the  chaung,  the  doubilnesse, 
The  gret  onseumesse,  the  variacioun, 
And  aduertisith,  for  al  your  hih  renoun. 
Fortunes  dewes,  whan  thei  most  suetli  shoure,      1840 
Than  is  she  falsest,  your  glorie*  to  deuoure. 

[How  lubiter  rauisshed  Europe,  and  how  Cadmus 
was  sent/to  seke  hir  in  diuers  Regiouns.J  ^ 

BE  rehersaile  off  many  an  old  poete. 
Be  discent  the  lyne  conueied  doun. 
Next  Satt^mus,  the  myhti  kyng  off  Crete,  1844 

loue  was  crownyd  bi  successioun. 
As  next  heir  bi  procreacioun, 
Afftir  his  fadir  the  lond  to  enherite,* 
Regned  in  Crete,  as  poetis  list  to  write.  1848 

Sone  off  the  lynage,  as  I  you  tolde  affom. 
Off  the  goddis  most  souereyn  and  enteere, 
Yit  thouh  he  was  off  blood  so  hih  I-bom, 
He  ches  Europa  for  to  been  his  feere,  1852 

And  doun  descendid  from  his  heuenli  speere. 
As  he  that  was,  for  al  his  deite, 
Supprisid  in  herte  with  hir  gret  beute. 

1831.  Tereus]  Thereus  R,  H,  R  3,  P,  J,  H  5  —  furie]  furies  H. 

1832.  2ndthe]ofFR. 

1835.    The  second  line  of  this  stanza  misplaced  at  end,  H. 
1841.   gloire  B.  1847.  tenherite  B. 

^  MS.  J.  leaf  10  verso. 




and  chose 
Europa  to  be 
his  wife. 


The  Story  of  Cadmus 

Hbk.  I 

She  was  a 
daughter  of 

Jupiter  took 
her  by  force 
from  her 

who  told  his 
son  Cadmus 
to  bring  her 
back  or  him- 
self never  to 
return  home 

Cadmus  set 


And  she  was  douhter  to  the  myhti  kyng 

Callid  Agenor,  by  lyneal  discent, 

Whos  myhti  kyngdaw  &  roial  fair  duellyng 

Was  in  Phenice  toward  the  orient; 

And  to  Arabie  his  land  was  adiacent, 

Ferre*  be  south,  as  ye  may  reede  and  see, 

Toward  the  parties  of  the  Rede  Se. 

But  lubiter,  whan  he  dede  aduerte 

Off  Europa  the  gret[e]  semlynesse, 

Hym  thouhte  he  was  woundid  thoruh  the  herte 

Onto  the  deth,  beholdyng  hir  fairnesse, 

And  for  his  constreynt,  &  his  mortal  distresse, 

Seyng  she  was  so  fair  fouwde*  in  his  siht, 

He  rauesshid  hire  ofF  veray  force  &  myht. 

But  Agenor,  hir  owyn  fadir  deere, 
Gan  on  this  cas  ful  pitously  compleyne, 
Whan  she,  alias,  most  goodli  and  enteere. 
Was  hym  berafFt,  which  doublid  al  his  peyne; 
Recur  was  noon,  thouh  he  dede  pleyne, 
Til  he,  remembrynge  in  his  regalie, 
Thouhte  he  wolde  senden  to  espie 

His  sone  Cadmus  hir  to  recure  ageyn, 
For  to  serche  hire  in  many  a  regeouw, 
Wherso  his  labour  were  fructuous  or  in  veyn. 
His  fadir  sette  hym  a  fell  condicioun, 
Nat  to  retourne  hi  noon  occasioun,  — 
And  therupon  maad  hym  to  be  bounde, — 
Til  that  he  hadde  the  kyngis  douhter  fouwde. 

He  took  his  shippis  bi  gret  auysynesse,    [p.  25] 

And  gan  to  saile  be  many  a  straunge  se, 

Dede  his  labour  and  his  besynesse. 

With  many  a  worthi  that  were  with  hyw  preue; 

But  whan  that  he  off  resoun  dede  see, 

Ther  was  no  mene  for  which  that  he  was  sent, 

For  tacomplisshe  the  fyn  off  his  entent, 

With  glad[e]  herte,  deuoid  off  al  gruchyng, 
Seyng  the  cas  froward  and  contraire. 
Humble  off  [his]  cheer[e]  took  his  exilyng. 








1861.    Ferre  be  south]  For  be  south  B,  For  be  sothe  R,  for  to 

be  South  P,  For  to  be  sought  R  3. 
1868.   founde]  foundyn  B,  founden  R,  H. 

1871.   Gan]  Can  R.     1873.   berauht  H.      1874.   And  recur  R  3. 
1877.   recure]  espien  H.       1878.   a]  om.  H. 

BK.  l] 

Cadmus  consults  Apollo 


And  off  manhod  list  nat  hymsilff  dispaire, 

But  with  his  meyne  knyhtli  gan  repaire 

Toward  Grece,  &  proudli  ther  to  londe,  1896 

OflF  Appollo  for  to  vndirstonde, 

To  what  parti  that  he  myhte  drawe. 

He  praied  the  god  to  wissyn  hym  &  reede, 

Sum  tokne  shewe  or  sum  maner  lawe,  1900 

Onto  what  ile  that  he  myhte  hym  speede; 

Or  that  he  wolde  graciously  hym  leede 

Where-as  he  myhte  bilden  a  cite, 

That  were  accordyng  for  hym  &  his  meyne.  1904 

And  to  Appollo  he  dede  sacrefise, 

And  maad  to  hym  his  oblacioun, 

The  god  requeryng  goodli  to  deuise, 

To  what  lond  or  to  what  regeoun  1908 

For  his  duellyng  and  habitacioun 

He  sholde  drawe,  withoute  mor  obstacle. 

For  hym  and  hise  to  make  his  habitacle. 

And  Cadmus  thus  tofForn  Appollo  stood,  191a 

Knelyng  a-mong  with  ful  gret  reuerence. 

And  in  the  temple  off  Delphos  stille  a-rbod. 

With  humble  attendaunce  &  deuout  dilligence 

Meekli  besekyng,*  bi  woord  or  sum*  sentence,     1916 

That  Appollo  to  hym  wolde  onclose, 

To  what  parti  he  sholde  hymsilff  dispose. 

This  was  his  answere  in  conclusioun. 

As  the  statue  to  hym  dede  expresse:  1920 

To  goon  and  serche  contrees  enviroun. 

And  til  he  fond,  doon  his  besynesse, 

A  bole  that  were  excellyng  of  faimesse. 

Which,  bi  precept  off  Appollos  lawe,  1924 

Hadde  neuer  afforn  in  no  yok  Idrawe. 

And  where  that  euer  sekyng  that  he  fond 

A  bole  stonde  stille  in  his  pasture, 

Appollo  bad  vpon  the  same  lond,  1928 

Where-as  he  sauh  this  sihte  off  auenture. 

That  he  sholde  doon  his  besi  cure 

To  bilde  a  cite,  he  and  his  folkis  all. 

And  Boecia,  afftir  the  bole,  it  call.  193a 

1899.   &]  or  H.       1916.   besek>Tig]  abid>Tig  B,  R,  H  —  sum] 

bi  sum  B,  R,  J.  1917.   enclose]  enclose  R. 

1920.  As]  And  R.  1926.    ist  that]  om.  H. 

and  asked 
Apollo  to 
tell  him 

he  and  his 
people  should 

Apollo  told 
Cadmus  to 
learch  for  a 
bull  that 
had  never 
drawn  in 

and,  where 
he  found 
him,  to 
build  a  city. 


Cadmus  builds  Thebes 

[bk.  I 

which  he  did,    And  whan  that  Cadmus  the  precept  vndirstood, 
And  in  serchyng  dede  his  besynesse, 
He  fond  a  place  where-as  a  bole  stood 
Fedyng  hymselff,  which  as  bi  liklynesse  1936 

Was  a  place  ful  plesant  off  largesse, 
Wher-as  he  stynte  and  gan  a  cite  reise, 
Which  that  poetis  gretli  comende  &  preise. 

And  that  his  bildyng  myhte  the  more  auaile,        1940 

AUe  tho  foreyns  that  dede  a-boute  hym  duelle, 

Ful  lik  a  knyht,  be  force  and  be  bataile 

Out  ofF  that  cuntre  he  dede  hem  expelle, 

Reisyng  a  cite  which  that  dede  excelle,  1944 

And  as  Guide  recordeth  eek  the  same, 

Into  this  day  off  Thebes  berith  the  name. 

and  named 
it  Thebes. 

Cadmus  was 
a  great  and 
wise  man 

And  he  was  nat  onli  glorefied 
For  reryng  up  off  this  grete  cite. 
But  he  was  also  gretli  magnefied 
For  his  manhod  and  magnanymyte, 
And  most  comendid,  yiff  ye  list  to  see, 
For  the  surmountyng  famous  excellence 
Which  that  he  hadde  in  wisdam  &  science. 



and  invented 
laws  and  an 

He  married 

at  about  the 
time  of  the 
death  of 

For  as  myn  auctour  list  off  hym  endite, 

Thoruh  his  noble  prudent  purueiance 

He  tauhte  figures  &  lettris  for  to  write,  1956 

And  made  lawes  off  ful  gret  ordynance 

A-mong  the  Grekis,  and  sette  gouernance 

Ther  vicious  liff  bi  vertu  to  restreyne; 

And  who  outraied  was  punshid  with  the  peyne.    i960 

And  off  entent  tencrecen  his  lynage. 

And  his  cite  also  to  multeplie. 

He  took  a  wiff,  that  was  but  yong  off  age, 

And  she  was  callid,  as  bookis  specefie,  1964 

Hermyone;   and  touchyng  hit  allie, 

Thouh  that  she  were  born  off  roial  blood, 

She  was  also  bothe  inly  fair  and  good. 

And  this  was  doon,  as  writith  myn 

auctour,  [p.  26]     1968 

Afftir  the  deth  of  worthi  losue, 
Gothonyel  beyng  his  successour, 

1934.   serchyng]  sechyng  H. 
1941.   tho]  \)e  J,  the  R  3,  H  5. 

BK.  l] 

Cadmus;  bis  four  DaugbUrs 


Hauyng  the  ledyng  and  the  souereynte 

OflF  Israel  whan  Thebes  the  cite  1972 

Was  foundid  first  in  tho  daies  olde 

Bi  kjmg  Cadmus,  tofforn  as  I  you  tolde. 

Foure  douhtren  he  hadde  be  his  lyue, 

Ful  faire  echon  and  goodli  on  to  see;  1976 

And  ther  names  to  rehersen  blyue, 

Semele  was  eldest,  and  next  Authonoe, 

The  thridde  in  ordre  was  callid  Ynoe, 

And  Agaue  was  yongest  off  hem  all,  1980 

OfFwhich[e]  douhtres  thus  [it]  is  be-fall: 

Thei  were  echon  off  port  &  off  maneer 

Ful  weel  fauoured  in  euery  manys  siht, 

Riht  womanli  and  heuenli  of  ther  cheer;  1984 

And  for  ther  beute,  ther  fadir  anoon  riht, 

As  it  was  sittyng,  with  al  his  ful[le]  myht, 

Lik  ther  estatis,  ther  berthe  &  eek  ther  age, 

Maad  hem  be  weddid  &  ioyned  in  manage  1988 

To  worthi  pryncis,  his  lynage  to  auaunce. 

And  thei  encreced  bi  procreacioun, 

WherofF  the  kyng  hadde  ful  gret  plesaunce 

And  gret  reioishyng  in  his  opynyoun  1992 

To  seen  his  lyne  bi  generacioun, 

With  his  nevewes  &  cosyns  off  allie. 

Fro  day  to  day  so  wexe  and  multeplie. 

And  this  encreced  his  felicite. 
Whan  he  considred  verrali  in  deede 
The  riche  bildyng  off  his  roial  cite, 
And  how  Fortune  dede  his  bridil  leede 
To  gret  richesse,  in  bookis  as  I  reede, 
To  gret  noblesse,  hauyng  residence 
In  his  cite  off  most  magnyficence. 

His  doubter  Semele,  record  off  myn  auctour, 

Thouh  she  descendid  were  off  the  blood  roiall, 

To  lubiter  she  was  paramour, 

And  bi  his  power  aboue  celestiall. 

She  conceyued  in  especiall. 

As  poetis  list  off  hire  tendite,  2008 

Hym  that  is  god  off  grapis  rede  &  white, 

1971.   2nd  the]  om.  R.       1973.   foundid]  founden  R. 

198 1,   it]  om.  R. 

2000.   the  t  in  gret  stuck  in  scribe's  pen  H. 

and  had  four 

who  were 
very  beautiful 

and  became 
the  wives  of 

1996    Cadmn* 

His  daughter 
Semele  had 
2004    a  son, 

Baochus,  by 


but  Juno  in 
her  anger 
caused  Semele 
to  be  burnt 
up  together 
with  her 

Actaeon,  son 
of  Autonog 
and  Aristaeus, 
was  devoured 
by  hounds. 

Agave,  the 



murdered  her 
son  Pentheus 
because  he 
laughed  at 
the  women 
of  Thebes 
when  they 
sacrificed  to 

Thus  Cadmus 
fell  into 
great  trouble. 

The  Misfortunes  of  Cadmus*  Family  [bk.  i 

Callld  Bachus,  which  hath  the  gouernaunce 

Off  wynis  alle  and  the  regalie. 

WherofF  afFtir  ther  fill  ful  gret  vengaunce:  2012 

[For]  whan  luno  dede  first  espie 

OfF  lubiter  the  grete  auoutrie, 

Off  gret  hatrede  and  envious  desir, 

She  made  Semeles  be  brent  with  sodeyn  fir,  2016 

Bi  descendyng  off  a  sodeyn  leuene, 

Wherthoruh  hir  paleis  was  into  asshes  brent  — 

The  vnwar  strook  cam  douw  fro  [the]  heuene, 

And  on  Semeles  the  vengaunce  is  doun  went;       2020 

And  or  the  flawme  consumed  was  &  spent, 

Ther  was  off  hir  lefFt  no  remembraunce, 

But  oflp  hir  eende  the  woful  mortal  chaunce. 

^  Eek  Antheon,  sone  off  Authonoe,  2024 

To  gret[e]  myscheefF  and  infortune  born, 

Whos  fadir  was  callid  Eristee, 

Come  off  the  kynrede  that  I  you  tolde  aflForn; 

With  cruel  houwdis,  alias,  he  was  to-torn,  2028 

For  that  he  sauh,  as  bookis  off  hym  tell, 

Diane  nakid  bathe  hire  in  a  well. 

And  as  poetis  remembryn  atte  leste. 

Whan  the  ladies  off  Thebes  the  cite  2032 

Heeld  off  Bachus  solempneli  the  feste, 

The  yongest  suster,  callid  Agaue, 

Doubter  to  Cadmus,  —  alias,  it  was  pite!  — 

Ageyn  Pantheus,  hir*  owyn  sone  deere,  2036 

She  wex  so  wood  &  mortal  off  hir  cheere, 

Moordryng  hym  in  ful  cruel  wise. 

In  hir  rage  she  was  so  furious: 

For  he  louh[e]  at  the  sacrefise  2040 

In  Thebes  doon  bi  women  to  Bachus; 

The  which[e]  sone  was  callid  Pantheus, 

Whom  that  she  slouh  with  a  ful  sharp[e]  dart. 

In  hir  woodnesse,  as  she  hym  fond  a-part.  2044 

These  grete  myscheuys  fellyn  in  the  lyne 

Off  kyng  Cadmus  thoruh  his  onhappi  chauwce; 

Fortune  his  noblesse  gan  to  vndirmyne. 

2010.  hath  the]  that  hath  R. 

2013.  For]oOT.  H,  R.  2018,19]  om.J. 

2019.  2nd  the]  om.  H,  R.  P.  2030.   in]  at  H. 

2036.  hir]  his  B,  R  —  Pantheus]  om.  J. 

BK.  l] 

Tbf  Troubles  of  Cadmus 


And  thouhte  she  wolde  his  glory  disauaunce.        2048 
Al  worldli  gladnesse  is  medlid  with  greuaunce, 
Experience  in  Cadmus  ye  may  see. 
So  importable  was  his  aduersite. 

For  whil  he  sat  most  hiest  in  his  glory,    [p.  27]    2052 

No  parti  clipsed  off  his  prosperite, 

His  briht  renoun  and  his  roial  memory 

In  rewmis  sprad  and  many  ferr  cuntre. 

And  he  most  welful  in  his  kyngli  see  2056 

Sat  with  his  lynage,  most  hih  in  his  noblesse, 

Than  cam  Fortune,  the  fals  enchaunteresse, 

Off  wilfulnesse,  and  fond  occasioun 

A-geyn  this  Cadmus,  &  maad  his  renoun  dulle,    2060 

And  off  his  kynrede,  bi  fals  coUusioun, 

She  gan  a-wey  the  brihtest  fethres  pulle; 

And  whan  his  shynyng  was  wexe  up  to  the  fulle, 

Afftir  the  chaung  off  Fortunys  lawe,  2064 

His  glory  gan  discrecen  and  withdrawe. 

It  was  mor  greuous  to  his  dignite, 

A  sodeyn  fall  from  his  hih  noblesse. 

Than  yiff  that  he  neuer  hadde  be  2068 

Set  in  thestat  off  [so]  gret  worthynesse; 

For  the  furious  mortal  heuynesse 

Off  his  kynreede,  withoutyn  any  more, 

Wolde  haue  greued  a  poore  man  ful  sore.  2072 

And  a-mong  his  sorwes  euerichon, 

To  reherse  pleynli  as  it  was, 

I  dar  afferme  how  that  there  was  oon. 

Most  horrible  &  dreedful  in  such  cas;  2076 

For  Cadmus  sone,  callid  Athamas, 

His  sone-in-lawe,  thoruh  fals  malencolie 

Fill  sodenli  into  a  frenesie. 

Off  whom  the  wiff  was  callid  Ynoe,  20S0 

Cadmus  doubter,  as  ye  ban  herd  expresse. 

Which  thoruh  the  constreynt  off  his  infirmite, 

In  his  rage  and  furious  woodnesse 

Thouhte  that  his  wiff  was  a  leonesse,  2084 

And  in  his  wilde  ymagynaciouns, 

That  his  too  childre  were  also  too  leouns. 

2052.   his  gIory3  hiest  R.       2062.   brihtest]  briht  H. 
2069.   thestatj  the  staat  J,  the  state  P  —  so]  om.  R. 
2085.  wilde]  wood  R  —  ymaginacion  R. 

Fortune,  the 

his  prosperity. 

It  was  the 
more  grievous 
because  of 
his  high 

Hit  greatest 
sorrow  was 
caused  by  hi* 

who  thought, 
hit  wife  a 
lioness  and 
his  sons  lions. 


57?^  End  of  Cadmus 

[bk.  I 

antJ  ^w  his      And  vpon  hem  ful  loude  he  gan  to  crie, 

Toward  his  wifF  in  haste  he  ran  anon,  2088 

And  from  hir  armys,  ther  was  no  remedie, 

The  child  he  rente,  and  on  a  craggi  ston 

He  gan*  to  brose  it  and  breke  it  eueri  bon. 

The  which[e]  child,  Bochas  writith  thus,  2092 

Ful  tendir  and  yong,  was  callid  Learchus. 

ino  fled  with     And  ofF  this  woful  sodeyn  auenture 
son.  OfF  his  rage,  whan  that  [s]he  took  heed, 

As  most  sorweful  ofF  any  creature,  2096 

Hir  othir  child  she  hente  anoon  for  dreed; 

For  ofF  socour  she  knew  no  betir  speed. 

So  as  she  myhte  gan  haste  out  ofF  his  siht. 

But  wellaway,  as  she  took  hir  to  fliht,  2100 

Hir  husbonde  cam  afFtir  pursuyng 

Lich  a  wood  leoun  in  his  cruel te; 

Doun  from  a  mounteyn,  which  was  dependyng, 

She  and  hir  child  fill  into  the  se.  2104 

Was  it  nat  routhe,  was  it  nat  pite, 

A  kyngis  doubter,  hir  lord  in  Thebes  crownyd. 

He  to  be  wood  and  she  for  feer  so  drownyd! 

Thus  the  joy  of  Loo,  hecr  the  fyn  ofF  Cadmus  euerideel, 
His  childre  slayn  and  his  allies  all. 
And  he  hymsilfF[e]  fro  Fortunys  wheel, 
Whan  he  lest  wende,  ful  sodenli  is  fall, 
His  litil  sugir  temprid  with  moch  gall: 
For  a-mong[es]  all  his  mortal  peynes. 
His  liege-men,  ofF  Thebes  citeseynes, 

They  fell 
into  the  sea 
and  were 


with  sorrow. 

Finally  he 
and  hia 
wife  were 

and  died  in 

Made  ageyn  hym  a  conspiracioun, 

Put  hym  in  exil  and  his  wifF  also, 

His  sonys,  his  douhtris  brouht  to  destruccioun; 

And  to  thencrecyng  ofF  his  dedli  wo. 

He  and  his  wifF  compellid  bothe  too 

For  verray  pouert  and  verray  indigence 

In  ther  last  age  to  purchace  ther  dispence. 

Thus  [of]  Cadmus  the  sorwes  to  descryue 
And  his  myscheefF  to  putte  in  remembraunce. 
He  banshid  was  twies  bi  his  lyue. 




hir]  ther  R.  2090.   craggi]  cragge  R. 

He  gan]  Began  B,  R —  brose]  briste  J,  bris  R  3,  bruise  P. 

she]  he  H,  R.      2096.  As]  Was  H.      2109.   children  R. 

all]  om.  R.       2120.   verray]  varrei  R. 

of]  om.  R. 

BK.  l] 

An  Envoy  on  Cadmus 


First  bi  his  fadris  cruel  ordynaunce 
Off  his  suster  to  maken  enqueraunce. 
And  althirlast  in  his  vnweeldi  age 
He  was  compellid  to  holden  his  passage 

Out  off  Thebes,  his  wifF  and  he  allone, 

In  sorwe  &  wepyng  taccompHssh  up  ther  daies. 

Into  Illirie  to-gidre  thei  be  gone, 

Ther  pacience  put  at  fell  assaies, 

Whos  bittimesse  felte  noon  allaies. 

Eek  off  ther  eende  nor  ther  vnhappi  fate. 

Nor  off  ther  deth  I  fynde  noon  other  date, 

SaufF  that  Guide  maketh  mencioun,     [p.  28] 

And  John  Bochas  the  poete  excellent 

Seith  that  the*  brethre,  Zeto  &  Amphioun, 

Out  off  Thebes,  bothe  bi  oon  assent, 

Haue*  this  Cadmus  into  exil  sent, 

His  wifF  also,  afFtir  ther  hih  noblesse. 

To  eende  her  lifF  in  sorwe  and  wrechidnesse. 

But  the  goddis,  ofF  merci  and  pite, 

Whan  thei  hem  sauh  bi  Fortune  so  cast  doun 

From  ther  estatis  into  pouerte, 

Hauyng  ofF  hem  ful  gret  compassioun, 

Thei  made  a-noon  a  transformacioun 

OfF  bothe  tweyne,  hem  yeuyng  the  liknesse 

OfF  serpentis,  to  lyue  in  wildimesse. 



2136  But  Ovid 
tayi  that 
the  gods  bad 
mercy  on 
them  and 
them  into 

2 140    seipcot*. 



<[  Lenvoye. 

OWHAT  estat  may  hymsilfF  assure 
For  to  conserue  his  lifFin  sekimesse? 
What  worldli  ioie  may  heer  long  endure. 
Or  wher  shal  men  now  fynde  stabilnesse, 
Sithe  kyngis,  pryncis  from  ther  hih  noblesse  — 
Record  ofF  Cadmus  —  been  sodenli  brouht  lowe 
And  from  the  wheel  ofF  Fortune  ouerthrowe? 


Who  may  susteene  the  pitous  auenture 

Off  this  tragedie  be  writyng  to  expresse? 

Is  it  nat  lik  onto  the  chaunteplure, 

Gynnyng  with  ioie,  eendyng  in  wrechidnesse?  —  2160 

Al  worldli  blisse  is  meynt  with  bittimesse, 

2126.   Inqueraunce  H. 

2138.   the]  thee  B,  thre  H,  R,  two  P. 

2140.   Haue]  Hath  B,  han  H,  J.      2143.   and]  &  off  R. 

What  esute 
may  live  in 

All  woridly 
happiness  is 
mingled  with 


^etes.  King  of  Colchos 

[bk.  I 

therefore,  O 
Lords,  be- 
ware the 
fate  of  those 

Fortune  cast 
from  her 

JEtXts,  king 
of  Colchos, 

6on  of  Apollo, 

The  sodeyn  chauwg  no  man  therofF  may  knowe; 
For  who  sit  hiest  is  sonest  ouerthrowe. 

Was  in  this  world  yit  neuer  creature,  2164 

Rekne  up  pryncis,  for  al  ther  hih  noblesse 

Fortune  koude  recleyme  hem  to  hir  lure 

And  emporisshe  thoruh  hir  frowardnesse. 

Wherfore,  ye  Lordis,  for*  al  your  gret  richesse,     2168 

Beth  war  afForn  or  ye  dauwce  on  the  rowe 

Off  such  as  Fortune  hath  from  hir  wheel  throwe. 

[A  processe  of  Oetes  kyng  of  Colchos,  lason,  Medee, 
Theseus,  Scilla  Nisus,  and  other  moo.]  ^ 

WHAN  lohn  Bochas  was  most  dilligent 
To  considre  the  successiouws 
Off  lynages,  with  all  his  hool  entent, 
In  his  writyng  and  descripciouns 
To  compile  the  generaciouns 
Of  many  noble,  famous  off  estat  — 
I  meene  off  such  as  were  infortunat,  — 

In  his  serchyng  he  fond  nat  a  fewe 

That  were  vnhappi  founde  in  ther  lyuyng; 

To  his  presence  a-noon  ther  gan  hem*  shewe 

A  multitude  ful  pitousli  wepyng, 

A-mongis  which,  ful  doolfully  pleynyng, 

Cam  first  Oetes,  and  hath  his  cowpleynt  gunne, 

Kyng  off  Colchos  and  sone  onto  the  sunne.  2184 

For  off  Phebus,  which  is  so  briht  &  cleer, 

Poetis  write  that  he  was  sone  and  heir, 

Because  he  was  so  myhti  off  poweer. 

So  fressh,  so  lusti,  so  manli  [and]  so  feir;  2188 

But  off  Fortune  he  fill  in  gret  dispeir, 

Cursyng  his  fate  and  his  destyne. 

Whan  lason  first  entrid  his  cuntre, 

Be  Pelleus  sent  fro  Thesalie,  2192 

Ther  for  taccomplisshe  be  dilligent  labour 
The  grete  emprises  thoruh  his  cheualrie, 

2166.   recleyme]  recline  R.      2168.   for]  with  B,  R,  J,  H  5. 
2170.   as  Fortune]  fortune  as  R  —  as]  om.  J  —  throwe]  ou^r- 
t)rowe  J,  H  5.     2180.    hem]  hym  B,  R,  H  5,  him  J,  them  P. 
2183.   compleynt]  playnte  R. 

2188.   lusti  manli  and  ri3t  faier  J,  H  5  —  and]  om.  H,  R,  R  3. 
2191.   lason]  losan  R. 

1  MS.  J.  leaf  12  recto. 




BK.  l] 

Jason  and  Medea 


YifF  God  and  Fortune  list  doon  to  hym  fauour, 

That  he  myhte  wynnen  the  tresour: 

This  is  to  meene,  that  he  were  so  bold 

The  ram  tassaile  which  bar  the  Flees  of  Gold. 

This  said  lason  thoruh*  counseil  off  Mede, 
Bi  sorcery  and  incantacioun 
The  boolis  slouh,  horrible  for  to  see, 
And  venquysshid  the  venymous  dragoun. 
The  k3'ng  despoilid  off  his  possessioun, 
Accomplisshid  with  carectis  &  figures 
Off  Colchos  the  dreedful  auentures. 

And  afFtirward,  whan  he  his  purpos  hadde. 
He  lefFte  Oetes  in  ful  gret  dispair, 
And  Medea  foorth  with  hym  he  ladde 
And  hir  brother,  which  was  the  kyngis  hair. 
But  as  I  fynde,  how  in  his  repair, 
Out  off  Colchos  whan  thei  gan  remue, 
Kyng  Oetes  afftir  hem  gan  sue. 

Vpon  lason  auenged  for  to  be, 

Withoute  tarieng,  he  folwid  hem  proudly; 

The  which[e]  thyng  whan  lason  dede  see, 

This  Medea  gan  shape  a  remedy: 

She  took  hir  brothir  &  slouh  hym  cruely, 

And  hym  dismembrid,  as  bookis  make  mynde, 

And  pecemeel  in  a  feeld  behynde 

She  gan  hym  caste,  al  bespreynt  with 

blood.  [p.  29] 

WherofF  his  fader  whan  he  hadde  a  siht, 
Ful  pale  off  cheer,  stille  in  the  feeld  he  stood, 
Whil  she  and  lason  took  hem  onto  fliht  — 
I  trowe  that  tyme  the  moste  wo  ful  wiht 
That  was  a-lyue,  whan  he  dede  knowe 
His  child  dismembrid  and  abrood  Isowe! 

Which  cause  was,  alias  and  wellaway! 
That  he  so  stynte,  as  man  disconsolat, 
Whil  that  lason  fro  Colchos  went  a-way. 
And  Medea,  most  infortunat. 
Was  ground  and  roote  off  this  mortal  debat: 


wa»  de«poiled 
of  the  Golden 
2200    Fleece  by 


who  led 
away  hi* 

„     Medea. 

Medea  slew 
her  brother 


to  itajr  her 



2195.   to]  om.  R.       2197.   is]  om.  R. 
2199.   This]  The  H  —  saide]  om.  J,  H   c 

the  B,  H,  R,  R  3. 
2204.  carectis]  carecters  R3,  charactes  P. 

thoruh]  thoruh 


Medecis  Enchantments 

Cbk.  I 

Her  love  of 
Jason  was 
the  cause  of 
it  all. 

Medea  re- 
stored iEson 
to  youth 

and  caused 
the  death  of 
Peiias,  Jason's 

For  who  sauh  euer  or  radde  off  such  a-nothir,       2333 
To  saue  a  straunger  list  to  slen  hir  brothir? 

Forsook  hir  fader,  hir  contre  &  kynreede, 

The  lond  enporished  thoruh  hir  robberie; 

Off  hir  worshep  she  took  noon  othir  heed,  2236 

Loue  had  hir  brouht  in  such  a  fantasie. 

And  whil  that  she  a-bood  in  Thesalie 

And  with  lason  dede  ther  soiourne, 

She  made  Eson  to  youthe  to  retourne.  2240 

A  yerde  she  took,  that  was  drie  and  old, 

And  in  hir  herbis  and  cowmixciouns* 

She  made  it  boile,  in  Guide  it  is  told. 

And  bi  carectis  and  incantaciouws,  2244 

And  with  the  crafFt  off  hir  coniurisouws 

The  yerde  be-gan  [to]  budde  &  blosme  newe 

And  to  here  frut  and  leuys  fresh  off  hewe. 

And  semblabli  with  hir  confecciouws  2248 

His  olde  humours  she  hath  depurid  cleene, 

And  with  hir  lusti  fresh[e]  pociouws 

His  empti  skyn,  tremblyng  &  riht  leene. 

Pale  and  wan,  that  no  blood  was  seene,  2252 

But  as  it  were  a  dedli  creature  — 

Al  this  hath  she  transfformyd  bi  nature. 

Made  hym  lusti  and  fressh  off  his  corage, 

Glad  off  herte,  liffli  off  cheer  and  siht,  2256 

Riht  weel  hewed  and  cleer  off  his  visage. 

Wonder  delyuer  bothe  off  force  &  myht, 

In  all  his  membris  as  weeldi  &  as  lyht 

As  euer  he  was,  and  in  the  same  estat,  2260 

Bi  crafft  off  Mede  he  was  so  alterat. 

Afftir  al  this,  a-geyn  kyng  Pelleus 

She  gan  maligne,  vncle  onto  lason; 

And  off  envie  she  procedith  thus:  2264 

The  kyngis  douhtren*  she  drow  to  hir  anoon, 

Hem  counsailid  that  thei  sholde  goon 

Onto  ther  fadir  &  pleynli  to  hym  seyn, 

Yiff  he  desirid  to  be  yong  a-geyn.  2268 


2nd  hir]  om.  H.       2238.   thatj]  om.  R. 
42.   in"]  wi[)  J  —  in  commixciouns  the  2nd  c  is  formed  like  t  in 
B,  H,  J .      2244.   carectis]  charactes  P.     2246.   to]  om.  R,  H. 

2249.    humours]  humerus  R.  2250.   hir]  his  H. 

2265.   douhtren]  douhter  B,  douhtir  R,  douhtren  H,  doughters 
P,  R  3,  H  5  —  drow]  drawij)  J. 

BK.  i\  The  Treason  of  Medea  63 

Ful  restored  his  force  to  recure  by  promwing 

And  therwithal  in  lusti  age  floure,  to  make  him 

She  behihte  to  doon  hir  besi  cure  L^b^diCT, 

Lik  his  desir  to  helpyn  and  socoure,  227a 

And  in  this  mateer  so  crafft[i]li  laboure, 

Fynali  stonde  in  the  same  caas 

To  be  maad  yong,  lik  as  his  brothir  was. 

Touchyng  which  thyng,  for  mor  euydence  2276 

This  Medea  hath  to  the  douhtren  told, 

Off  entent  to  yeue  the  mor  credence, 

She  bad  hem  take  a  ram  that  wer  riht  old, 

And  with  a  knyff  for  to  be  so  bold  2280 

To  sleen  this  beeste  affom  hem  ther  he  stood, 

And  in  a  vessel  drawe  out  his  olde  blood, 

FuUi  affermyng  lik  as  it  wer  trewe,  pertu»ding 

That  he  sholde  been  a  lamb  a-geyn.  2284     "^ 

For  she  be  crafft  wolde  his  blood  renewe 

In  such  wise  be  euidence  pleyn 

That  off  elde  no  tokne  shal  be  seyn  — 

In  al  his  membris  as  lusti  and  enteer  2288 

As  was  a  lamb  euyd  off  o  yeer. 

And  therupon  in  ful  sleihti  wise 

She  gan  a  processe  off  ful  fals  tresoun. 

The  sustre  made  vpon  this  ram  practise,  2292 

Drouh  out  his  blood  lik  her  entenciouw; 

And  she  bi  crafft  off  fals  illusiouw 

Blent  her  eyen  bi  apperence  in  veyn 

The  olde  ram  to  seeme  a  lamb  a-geyn.  2296 

Thus  Medea  be  sleihte  compassyng,  to  kfli  their 

Off  envie  and  venymous  hatreede, 

Excitid  hath  the  sustre  in  werkyng, 

A-geyn  ther  fadir  mortali  to  proceede.  2300 

With  sharp[e]  knyuis  thei  made  her  fader  bleede. 

Mid  the  herte  thoruhout  euery  veyne, 

Supposyng,  the  celi  sustren  tweyne. 

That  Pelleus  renewed  sholde  be  [p.  30]  2304 

To  youthe  a-geyn  off  force  &  off  substauwce. 
But  fynali  bi  tresoun  off  Mede 

2272.   his]  hir  H.        2275.   his]  hir  H.        2285.   For]  &  H. 
2289.   euyd]  yewide  R  3,  yened  P,  eyned  J,  H  5. 

2299.  sustre]  sustren  H,  sustres  H  5,  susters  P. 

2300.  to]  om.  H,  R  3.       2305.   youht  geyn  R. 



The  Fate  of  Creusa 

[bk.  I 

thought  this 
would  please 
Jason,  but 
it  did  not. 

He  left  her 
and  went  to 
where  he 
whom  Medea 
burnt  up 
in  revenge. 

Jason  wanted 
to  punish 

He  lost*  his  lifF,  such  was  his  woful  chaunce; 

For  she  it  wrouhte  onli  ofF  vengauwce,  2308 

As  roote  &  ground  off  this  cruel  deede, 

A-geyn  the*  nature  off  al  *  womanheede. 

Supposyng  in  hir  opynyoun, 

How  that  the  deth  gretli  sholde  plese  2312 

OfF  Pelleus  onto  hir  lord  lasouw, 

Thoruh  gret  encres  sette  his  herte  at  ese; 

But  it  rebounded  into  his  disese, 

That  fynali  lason  hir  forsook  2316 

For  hir  offence,  and  he  his  weye  took 

Into  Corynthe,  toward  the  kyng  Creon, 

Whos  douhter  Creusa,  for  hir  gret  beute, 

Was  afFtirward  iweddid  to  lason.  2320 

But  whan  this  weddyng  was  knowe  to  Mede, 

Caste  she  wolde  theron  auengid  be, 

Gan  to  conspire  off  malis  and  envie, 

And  thoruh  hir  magik  and  [hir]  sorcerie,  2324 

In  ful  gret  haste  gan  [for]  to  ordeyne 

A  litil  cofFre,  onli  off  entent; 

And  bi  hir  yonge  faire  sonys  tweyne. 

With  othre  iewelis,  she  hath  the  cofFre  sent,  2328 

Onto  Creusa  makyng  a  present. 

Which  ofF  malis  she  list  so  dispose. 

That  whan  Creusa  the  cofFre  dede  onclose, 

The  fir  brast  out  a  ful  large  space,  2332 

Brent  Creusa  bi  ful  gret  violence, 

Set  a-fire  pleynli  al  the  place 

Benchauntement;  ther*  was  no  resistence  — 

Al  wente  affire  that  was  in  hir  presence,  2336 

Bi  vengance  dede  ful  gret  damage. 

But  whan  lason  the  fir  sauh  in  his  rage. 

And  considred  the  malis  ofF  Mede, 

Thouhte  he  wolde  doon  execucioun  2340 

For  to  punshe  the  gret  iniquite 

A-geyn[e]s  hym  compassid  ofF  tresoun; 

For  she  ofF  vengance,  a-geyn[es]  al  resoun, 

2307.  lost]  lefFte  B,  R.       2309.   &]  off  R. 

2310.  the]  om.  B  —  al]  al  good  B,  R. 

2312.  that]  at  R.       2314.   encres]  ences  R  —  at]  in  R. 

2322.  theron]  om.  R.       2324.    hir]  om.  R,  H. 

2325.  for]  om.  ],  R.       2335.   ther]  pleynli  ther  B,  R. 

BK.  l] 

Medea  marries  King  ^geus 


Afftir  that  Creusa  consumed  was  &  brent, 
Hir  owne  sonys,  which  she  hadde  sent, 

Withoute  routhe  or  womanli  pite, 

She  falsll  moordred  —  the  childre  that  she  bar 

Lik  a  stepmooder  auenged  for  to  be, 

Cutte  ther  throtis  or  that  thei  wer  war, 

A-geyn  nature,  ther  was  noon  othir  spaar, 

But  for  hatreede  she  hadde  onto  lason. 

AflFtir  this  moordre  she  fledde  hir  way  a-noon, 

So  escapyng  his  indignacioun. 

Be  crafft  off  magik  she  wente  at  liberte 

To  Athenys,  and  in  that  regioun 

She  weddid  was  onto  the  kyng  Egee. 

Nat  longe  aiFtir  bi  hym  a  sone  had  she. 

The  which[e]  child,  myn  auctour  tellith  thus, 

Afftir  Medea  caUid  was  Medus. 

Afftir  whos  name  the  famous  regioun 
I-named  was,  which  is  caUid  Meede. 
But  folwyng  ay  hir  olde  condicioun. 
This  Medea,  void  off  shame  &  dreede, 
Compassid  hath  off  wilful  fals  hatreede. 
That  Theseus,  the  sone  off  kyng  Egee, 
With  newe  poisoun  shal  deuoured  be. 

But  Theseus,  ful  lik  a  manli  knyht. 
In  repairyng  hom  to  his  contre. 
Off  hih  prudence  espied  a-noon  ryht 
The  mortal  vengance,  the  gret[e]  cruelte 
Off  his  stepmooder,  which  off  enmite 
Concludid*  hath  in  hir  entencioun 
Hym  to  destroie  onwarli  with  poisoun. 

Hir  herte  off  malis,  cruel  &  horrible. 

As  she  that  was  with  tresoun  euer  allied, 

Whan  that  she  sauh  hir  purpos  most  odible 

Be  kyng  Egeus  fuUi  was  espied, 

She  hath  hir  herte  &  wittis  newe  applied. 

As  in  ther  bookis  poetis  han  compiled, 

A-geyn  to  lason  to  be  reconsiled. 

She  fledde  away  for  dreed  off  Theseus, 
List  he  hadde  doon  on  hir  vengaunce. 
And  fynali,  as  writ  Ouidius, 

2352.   hir  way]  away  H.       2361.   callid  is  J,  called  is  P. 
2372.   Concludid]  Concludyng  B,  R. 

especially  as 
she  murdered 
her  two  son* 
out  of  hatred 
to  him. 

But  the  es- 
caped to 






and  tried  to 
poison  her 
,       Theseus,  who 
2304    escaped. 



2376    She  then 
went  back 
to  Jason. 



Medea  restored  to  Jason.     Minos 

[bk.  I 

Poets  do  not 
tell  how  it 
was  that 
they  were 

It  must 
have  been 

At  any  rate, 
they  restored 
iEetes  to  his 

Now  I  shall 
turn  to 
Minos,  son 
of  Jupiter 
and  Europa. 

He  was  king 
of  Crete  and 

And  moral  Senec  concludith  in  substaunce,  2384 

In  his  tragedies  makyng  remembrauwce, 
How  Medea,  lik  as  poetis  seyn, 
Onto  lason  restored  was  a-geyn. 

Touchyng  the  eende  off  ther  furious 

discord,  [p.  31]      2388 

Poetis  make  therofF  no  menciouw 
Nor  telle  no  mene  how  thei  fill  at  accord. 
But  yifF  it  were  bi  incantacioun, 
Which  so  weel  koude  turne  up-so-doun  2392 

Sundry  thyngis  off  loue  &  off  hatreede. 
And  in  Bochas  off  hir  no  mor  I  reede, 

Sauff  whan  she  hadde  fulfiUid  hir  purpos, 

Myn  auctour  tellith,  that  lason  &  Mede  2396 

Resorted  han  a-geyn  onto  Colchos 

Hir  fadir  Oetes,  &  from  his  pouerte 

Brouht  hym  a-geyn  into  his  roial  see. 

And  to  his  crowne  bi  force  thei  hym  restore:        2400 

Touchyng  his  eende,  off  hym  I  fynde*  no  more. 

Thus  his  fortune  hath  turnyd  to  and  fro. 

First  lik  a  kyng  hauyng  ful  gret  richesse, 

Afftir  lyuyng  in  pouert  and  in  wo,  2404 

Sithen  restorid  to  his  worthynesse: 

Thus  ay  is  sorwe  medlid  with  gladnesse. 

Who  can  aduerte,  in  al  worldli  thyng, 

Record  off  Mynos,  the  noble  worthi  kyng.  2408 

TO  whom  I  muste  now  my  stile  dresse, 
Folwen  the  tracis  off  Bochacius, 
The  which[e]  Mynos,  as  Ouide  doth  expr^sse, 
Touchyng  his  birthe  writ[eth]  pleynli  thus,  2412 

That  he  was  manli,  wis  and  vertuous, 
Sone  bi  discent  off  lubiter  the  grete. 
And  off  Europa  born  to  been  heir  in  Crete. 

Off  his  persone  wonder  delectable,  2416 

Ful  renommed  off  wisdam  and  science, 

Bi  dyuers  titles  off  laude  comendable 

Off  birthe,  off  blood,  off  knyhthod  &  prudence; 

For  bi  his  study  and  enteer  dilligence  2420 

He  fond  first  lawes  groundid  on  resouw, 

Wherbi  off  Crete  the  grete  regioun 

2390.   zt\  om.  R.  2401.   I  fynde]  fynde  I    B,  R,  J. 

2412.   wnteth]  writ  R.         2419.   &]ofH. 

BK.  l] 

Minos  and  ^een  Pasipbae 


Gouemyd  was  and  set  in  stabilnesse. 

Alle  iniuries  and  wrongis  to  refourme, 

Made  statutis  extorsiouns  to  represse, 

Off  rihtwisnesse  thei  took  ther  firste  fourme, 

And  that  ech  man  sholde  hymselfF  confourme 

Lik  ther  degrees,  subiect  and  souerayne. 

That  no  man  hadde  no  mater  to  complayne. 

He  made  his  liges  to  lyuen  in  quieete, 
Cleer  shynyng  in  his  roial  noblesse, 
With  suerd  and  sceptre  sittyng  in  his  seete; 
And  whil  he  floured  in  his  worthynesse 
He  took  a  wifF  off  excellent  faimesse, 
Doubter  to  Phebus,  in  Bochas  ye  may  see, 
And  she  was  callid  faire  Pasiphe. 

And  hir  fadir,  bi  record  off  writyng, 

In  his  tyme  was  holden  ful  famous; 

Off  thile  off  Rodis  he  was  crownyd  kyng, 

And  in  his  daies  off  port  ful  glorious, 

Riht  proud  in  armis  and  victorious, 

Takyng  witnesse  Methamorphoseos. 

His  doubter  hadde  thre  childre  be  Mynos, 

The  firste  a  sone  callid  Androgee, 

And  afftirward  ful  faire  douhtren  tweyne, 

Riht  womanli  and  goodli  on  to  see; 

But,  as  Fortune  for  hem  dede  ordeyne, 

Thei  felte  her  lyue  gret  trouble  &  [gret]  peyne 

Callid  Adriana,  and  Phedra  was  the  tothir, 

Folwyng  ther  fate,  it  myhte  be  noon  othir. 

Androgeus  bi  kyng  Mynos  was  sent, 
For  he  sholde  profityn  in  clergie, 
To  Athenys  off  vertuous  entent 
There  to  stodien  in  philosophie; 
And  for  he  gan  tencrece  &  multeplie 
And  passe  all  othir  bi  studi  in  lernyng 
And  to  excelle  his  felawes  in  cunnyng, 

Thei  off  envie  and  fals  malis,  alias. 
Made  a-geyn  hym  a  conspiracioun, 
And  from  a  pynacle  sacrid  to  Pallas, 

2425.  represse]  oppresse  R.       2439.   thile]  the  vile  F 

2441.  riht  victorious  H.       2445.   douhtre  R. 

2448.  2nd  gret]  om.  R.       2449.   that  othir  R. 

2450.  ther]  the  H.  2452.   sholde]  wold  R. 

goTcmed  his 
subjectt  wdi. 



His  wife's 

name  was 

2432    Pasiphae, 








by  whom  he 
had  three 

Their  son 
was  mali- 
ciously slain 
in  Athens, 


Scylla  and  Nisus 

[bk.  I 

for  which 
Minos  took 

Nisus,  king 
of  Megara, 
helped  the 

but  his 
Scylla  fell 
in  love  with 

and  conspired 
her  father's 

Off  ful  gret  heihte,  made  hym  tumble  doun. 

For  which  iniurie,  Bochas  maketh  menciouw, 

His  fadir  Mynos  auengid  for  to  be, 

Leide  a  gret  power  a-boute  the  cite.  2464 

He  caste  hym  fulH  that  no  maw  sholde  hyw  lette, 

But  that  he  wolde  doon  crueli  vengaunce; 

And  round  a-boute  so  sore  he  hem  besette 

With  men  off  armys  &  with  his  ordynauwce,         2468 

That  fynali  he  brouht  hem  to  vttrauwce, 

And  them  constreynyd,  withynne  a  Htil  space, 

Ther  lifF,  ther  deth  submyttyng  to  his  grace. 

But  whil  thei  made  ageyn  hym  resistence,  [p.  3  2]     2472 

Supposyng  his  power  to  withstonde, 

Nisus,  that  was  kyng  off  Megarence, 

A-geyn  Mynos  ther  parti  took  on  honde: 

And  offte  tymes,  as  ye  shal  vndirstonde,  2476 

Whan  kyng  Mynos  the  cite  dede  assaile, 

Nisus  withynne,  with  myhti  apparaile 

Vpon  the  wal  stood  in  his  difFence  — 

Whan  that  Mynos,  ful  lik  a  manli  knyht,  2480 

Fauht  withoute  with  sturdi  violence, 

Lich  Mars  hymsilfF  in  steel  armyd  briht. 

WherofF  whan  Scilla  onys  hadde  a  siht, 

Douhtir  to  Nisus,  aduertyng  his  prowesse,  2484 

A-noon  for  loue  she  fill  in  gret  distresse. 

She  was  supprisid  with  his  hih  noblesse; 

His  manli  force,  expert  many-fold, 

Set[te]  Scilla  in  gret  heuynesse:  2488 

For  loue  off  Mynos,  off  poetis  it  is  told. 

Made  hir  herte  presumen  and  be  bold, 

First  hir-silff  to  putte  in  iupartie, 

Hir  fadris  lifF,  the  cite,  the  clergie.  2492 

From  hir  herte  loue  hath  set  a-side, 

A-geyn  nature,  hir  blood  &  hir  kynreede; 

And  al  frenshipe  from  hire  she  gan  deuyde, 

And  off  hir  worship  took  no  maner  heede:  2496 

Loue  maad  hir  cruel,  a-geyn  al  womanheede, 

First  hir  herte  so  sore  sette  affire, 

Hir  fadres  deth  falsli  to  conspire. 

2469.  vttraunce]  variaunce  R.  2471.  Ther]  The  H. 

2474.  Magarence  H.     2489.   2nd  ofT]  in  H. 
2491.  iupartiej  parti  R. 

BK.  l] 

Scyllas  unnatural  Cruelty 


For  kyng  Mynos  beyng  a  straunger 

Was  so  enprentid  in  hir  opynyoun, 

Off  creatures  ther  stood  noon  so  neer; 

And  for  his  sake,  bi  ful  fals  tresoun. 

She  compassid  the  destruccioun 

First  off  hir  fadir  and  off  the  cite  — 

So  straunge  a  thyng,  alias,  how  myhte  it  be, 

That  a  woman  off  yens  yong  and  tendre 
Koude  ymagyne  so  merueilous  a  thyng! 
But  offte  it  fallith,  that  creatures  sclendre, 
Vnder  a  face  off  angelik  lokyng, 
Been  verrai  wolues  outward  in  werkyng. 
Eek  vnder  colour  off  ther  port  femynyne, 
Suwme  be  founde  verray  serpentyne, 

Lambis  in  shewyng,  shadwid  with  meeknesse, 
Cruel  as  tigres,  who  doth  to  hem  offence, 
Off  humble  cheer  pretendyng  a  liknesse. 
But,  o  alias!  what  harm  doth  apparence. 
What  damage  doth  countirfet  innocence, 
Viidir  a  mantil  shrowdid  off  womanheed. 
Whan  feyned  falsnesse  doth  ther  bridil  leed! 

For  this  Scilla,  the  kyngis  doubter  deere. 

In  whom  he  sette  hool  his  affeccioun, 

His  hertis  ioie,  his  plesaunce  most  enteere. 

His  worldli  blisse,  his  consolacioun,  — 

But  she  al  turned  to  his  confusioun, 

Nat  lich  a  doubter,  but  lik  a  sorceresse 

His  deth  compassid,  the  story  berth  witnesse. 

Hir  fadir  hadde  a  fatal  her  that  shon 

Brihtere  than  gold,  in  which  he  dede  assure 

Manli  to  fihte*  a-geyn  his  mortal  fon; 

For  on  his  hed[e]  whil  it  dede  endure. 

He  sholde  venquysshe  bi  manhod,  &  recure, 

And  thoruh  his  knyhthod,  to  his  encres  off  glor>'. 

In  euery  quarell  wynnen  the  victory. 

But  whil  hir  fadir  kyng  Nisus  lay  &  sleep, 
Vpon  a  nyht,  parcel  affor  day, 
Ful  secreli,  or  that  he  took  keep, 
The  her  off  gold  this  Scilla  kit  away; 
And  onto  Mjmos,  armyd  wher  he  lay. 

2500    a  strange 
thing  for  a 
woman  to 


(but  often 
the  most 
2508    angelic  ap- 



are  as  cruel 
as  tigers). 


Like  a 





she  cut 
away  the 
fatal  hair 
of  gold  from 
Nisus'  head. 


fihte]  fihten  B. 
kit]  did  H. 


and,  as  Ovid 
tells,  took  a 
sharp  knife 
and  killed 

Scylla  slays  her  Father 

[bk.  I 

She  presented 
her  father's 
head  to 

and  declared 
that  her 
love  for  him 

her  to  do 
this  horrible 





'  'Wherefore, 
I  pray,  consider, 
like  a  gentle 

and  accept ' 
my  love. 

She  it  presentid  thoruh  hir  ordynaunce, 
Off  fals  entent  hym  for  to  do  plesaunce. 

But  in  this  mateer,  lik  as  writ  Guide, 

Methamorphoseos,  who-so  taketh  heed, 

Hir  fadir  slepyng,  she  knelyng  hi  his  side. 

Took  a  sharp  knyfF  withoute  feer  or  dreed, 

Whil  he  lay  nakid,  she  kai-fF  a-too  his  hed, 

Stal  hir  way[e]  off  ful  fals  entent. 

And  to  kyng  Mynos  the  hed  she  doth  present.     2548 

And  in  hir  comyng  onto  his  presence, 

Hir  fadris  hed  whan  she  afforn  hym  laide, 

No-thyng  a-shamed  off  hir  gret  offence. 

Onto  Mynos  thus  she  dede  abraide. 

And  with  bold  cheer[e]  euene  thus  she  saide: 

"Mi  lord,"  quod  She,  "with  support  off  your  grace, 

Yeueth  to  my  tale  leiser  tyme  and  space; 

Certis,  my  lord,  loue  hath  excitid  me      [p.  33] 

And  constreynyd  to  this  cruel  deede. 

To  slen  my  fader,  destroien  my  cite, 

Forgete  my  worshep,  forsaken  womanheede. 

And  maad  me  hardi  to  make  my  fader  bleede  —  2560 

Thynges  horrible  thus  I  haue  vndertake 

For  tacomplisshe  onli  for  your  sake. 

Mi-silff  disheritid  for  loue  off  your  persone, 
Callid  in  my  contre  a  fals  traitouresse, 
Disconsolat  stole  a-wey  a-lone. 
Off  newe  diffamed,  named  a  maistresse 
Off  fals  moordre,  I  brynge  a  gret  witnesse. 
Mi  fadres  hed  and  his  dedli  visage, 
A-geyn  nature  to  forthren  your  viage. 

Wherfore,  I  praie  that  ye  list  aduertise, 
And  considreth  lich  a  gentil  knyht 
How  I,  for  loue  toward  your  gret  emprise, 
And  to  gret  fortheryng  also  off  your  ryht, 
Haue  first  my  fader  depryued  off  his  myht, 
Rafft  hym  his  liff,  dispoiled  his  richesse 
To  do  plesaunce  to  your  hih  noblesse. 

And  no-thyng  axe  onto  my  guerdoun 
Nor  to  my  reward  that  myhte  me  auaile, 
But  that  I  myhte  haue  ful  possessioun 





2548.  present]  sent  R. 

2559.  forsake  R. 

BK.  ij 

Minos*  Ahborrence  of  the  Deed 


Off  your  p<rrsone,  most  worthi  in  bataile; 
For  ther  is  no  tresor  that  myhte  countiruaile 
To  my  desir,  as  that  ye  wolde  in  deede 
Goodli  accepte  me  and  my  maidenheede. 

Ye  may  me  saue  &  spille  with  a  woord. 
Make  most  glad  and  most  dolerous; 
I  nat  requere  ofF  you,  my  souereyn  lord, 
But  that  ye  wolde  be  to  me  gracious: 
For  blood  and  kyn,  and  my  fad  res  hous 
Al  lefFt  behynde,  yiiF  ye  list  aduerte, 
And  vndepartid  youe  to  you  myn  herte. 

Which  to  your  hihnesse  auhte  inouh  suffise, 
All  thynge  considred,  in  your  roial  estat, 
Conceyued  also  in  how  vnkouth  wise 
For  your  loue  I  stonde  desolat, 
Sauff  off  your  mercy  fulli  disconsolat. 
Heere  is  al  and  sum,  your  loue  I  beie  to  sore, 
But  ye  do  grace;  I  can  sey  you  no  more." 

And  whan  she  hadde  hir  tale  told  knelyng, 
With  a  maner  pretense  ofF  womanheed, 
OfF  al  hir  tresoun  a  poynt  nat  concelyng, 
The  kyng  astonyd  off  hir  horrible  deed, 
Bi  gret  auys  peised  and  took  heed, 
It  was  not  sittyng  to  prynce  nor  to  no  kyng 
To  do  fauour  to  so  froward  a  thyng. 

With  troublid  herte  and  with  a  face  pale, 
His  look  vpcast,  [he]  seide,  "God  forbeede. 
That  euer  in  cronycle,  in  story  or  in  tale, 
That  any  man  sholde  off  Mynos  reede, 
How  he  supported  so  venymous  a  deede  — 
Fauoure  a  woman,  alias  and  wellaway! 
Which  slouh  hir  fader  whan  he  a-bedde  lay. 

But  for  your  hatful  and  vnkyndli  rage, 
I  pray  the  goddis  echon  and  Satume 
To  take  vengaunce  on  your  fals  outrage: 
For  euery-wher,  wher  ye  do  retume. 
And  eueri  place  wher-as  ye  soioume, 

2585.  dolorous  H. 

2589.  Al]  And  R. 

*S93-  Conceyued]  And  conceyve  H. 

2603.  no]  om.  H. 

2606.  he]  om.  R,  J,  P,  H  s. 

2608.  That]  Tat  R. 







"  I  have  left 
all  behind 
for  your 

\Imos  was 



Said  he, 
"God  forbid 
that  Minos 
should  ever 
tudi  a  deed. 

2612  "May  the 
gods  take 
on  you! 



"  Begone  from 
my  court! 

"May  Tellus 
and  Neptune 
refuse  you 
an  abiding- 

The  gods 
Scylla  into 
a  quail 
and  her 
father  into 
a  sparrow- 
hawk.    That 
was  their 

The  End  of  Nisus  and  Scylla  []bk.  i 

Lond  and  se,  shortli  to  expresse, 

Thei  been  infect  with  your  cursidnesse. 

Your  owne  mouth  your  outrage  doth  accuse; 

And  your  accus  is  so  abhomynable,  2620 

That  your  gifFtis  I  fulli  do  refuse,  — 

Thei  be  so  froward  and  repreuable. 

And  your  persone,  disnaturel  &  vnstable, 

Withynne  my  court,  it  were  a  thyng  nat  fayr,      2624 

That  ye  sholde  a-bide  or  haue  repair. 

Ye  be  so  hatful  vpon  eueri  side 

And  contrarious  off  condiciouw, 

I  praie  Tellus,  which  off  the  erthe  is  guide,  2628 

And  to  Neptunus  I  make  this  orisoun: 

As  ferr  as  strecchith  ther  domynacioun 

Vnder  the  bouwdis  off  ther  regalie, 

A  duellyng-place  that  thei  to  you  denye!"  2632 

Whan  Mynos  hadde  his  answer  thus  deuised. 

On  resoun  grouwdid  and  on  equite, 

And  Scilla  sauh  how  she  was  despised. 

Knew  no  parti,  passage  nor  contre  2636 

To  fynde  socour  whedir  she  myhte  fle. 

But  disespeired  as  a  traitouresse. 

Toward  the  se  a-noon  she  gan  hir  dresse 

Tentre  the  water  pleynli  yiff  she  myhte,  [p.  34]    2640 
For  verrai  shame  hirseluen  for  to  shrowde; 
And  whan  the  goddis  theroff  hadde  a  syhte, 
Thei  turned  hire,  as  thei  that  myhte  &  kowde, 
In-ta  quaile  for  to  synge  lowde.  2644 

Hir  fader  Nisus  thei  dede  also  transmue 
In  ta  sperhauk,  the  quaile  to  pursue. 

This  was  the  eende  off  Nisus  &  off  Scille. 

And  afftirvf  ard  off  Athenes  the  toun  2648 

Was  yolden  vp  to  stonden  at  the  wille 

Off  kyng  Mynos,  withoute  condicioun; 

Euery  thre  yeer  bi  reuoluciouw 

Thei  off  the  cite  sholde  nat  dellaie  2652 

Nyne  off  ther  childre  for  a  tribut  paie. 

2640.  The  second  hand  begins  here  R. 

2643.  that]  om.  R. 

2645.  transmuel  remewe  R. 

2646.  sperhaukjsparow  R,  sparhawke  H. 

2647.  2nd  oflQ  om.  R. 
2651.  thre]  om.  R. 

BK.  l] 

Tbg  Minotaur 


This  was  bi  Mynos  thymposicloun 

Vpon  Athenys;  and  off  verrai  dreed 

Thei  obeied,  as  maad  is  mencioun,  2656 

And  ther  childre  yeer  bi  yeer  thei  leed 

Into  Crete  the  Mynotaur  to  feed, 

Onto  this  monstre  ordeyned  for  repast, 

Which  at  ther  comyng  deuoured  wer  in  hast.        2660 

But  or  that  I  ferthere  do  proceede 

In  this  mater,  I  will  do  my  cure 

To  declare,  yiff  ye  list  take  heede. 

Off  this  monstre  to  telle  the  engendrure,*  2664 

Vnkouth  to  heere  and  a-geyn  nature; 

For  bi  the  writyng  off  Ouidius, 

This  ougli  beeste  was  engendrid  thus, 

Methamorphoseos,  the  maner  ye  may  see:  2668 

Mynos  hadde  a  bole  off  gret  faimesse, 

Whit  as  mylk;   and  the  queen  Pasiphe 

Loued  hym  so  bote,  the  story  berth  witnesse, 

And  Dedalus  dede  his  besynesse  267a 

[|Bi  sotil  craft,  &  made  his  gynnys  so. 

That  ayenst  kynde  with  hir  he  had  to  do. 

And  conceyued  a  beest[e]  monstruous. 

That  was  departid,  halfe  bole,  half  man;  2676 

And  as  the  poete  bi  wrytyng  techith  vs. 

Off  Mynotaurus  thus  the  name  began. 

And  Dedalus,  not  long  aftir  whan] 

That  this  monstre  was  bi  the  queen  forth 

brouht,  26S0 

This  subtil  werkman  hath  an  hous  Iwrouht 

Callid  Laboryntus,*  dyuers  and  vnkouth, 

Ful  off  wrynkles  and  off  straungenesse, 

Ougli  to  knowe  which  is  north  or*  south,  2684 

Or  to  what  part  a  man  sholde  hym  dresse; 

Folk  were  ther  blent  with  furious  derknesse. 

Who  that  entred,  his  retourn  was  in  veyn, 

Withoute  a  clue  for  to  resorte  a-geyn.  2688 

2654.  bi]  of  H,  R  3.  2657.   children  R. 

2658.  M>Tiatour  R.       2659.   this]  the  R.       2662.   will]  woId^R. 

2664.  telle  the  engendi-ure]  tellen  thengendrure  B,  H. 

2670.  Posiphee  R.         2673-9  a*"'  supplied  from  R,  om.  in  B,  H. 

2676.  halfe  a  bull  P.       2677.   bi]  om.  P. 

2678.  Mynataurus  J,  Mynotouris  H.       2682.   Lobor>-ntus  B. 

2684.  or]  &  B. 

over  the 
them  to 
scad  9  chil- 
dren every 
3  years  to 
the  Minotaur 

The  Minotaur 
was  the  off- 
spring of 
Pasiphae  and 
a  white  bull. 

The  bull 
lived  in 

the  Labyrinth 
made  by 


a  place  like 
a  prison, 
where  it 
human  flesh. 

Some  books, 
however,  say 
that  Pasiphae 
had  a  child  by 

Taurus,  a 
secretary, — 
which  would 
explain  the 
matter  of 
the  bull. 

Wives  are  a 
bad  lot,  but 
we  do  not 
discard  a 
falcon  for 
one  fault. 

To  return  to 
the  Athenians, 
they  paid 
their  tribute; 

Wives  are  a  Bad  Lot  [bk.  i 

Off  Mynotaurus  this  was  the  habltacle, 

Lik  a  prisoun  maad  for  tormentrie, 

For  dampnyd  folk  a  peynful  tabernacle; 

For  all  that  lay  ther  in  iupartie,  2692 

The  monstre  muste  deuoure  hem  &  defie: 

And  speciali  was  ordeyned  this  torment 

For  all  that  wern  doun  from  Athenys  sent. 

But  in  this  mater  suwme  bookis  varie,  2696 

And  afFerme  how  queen  Pasiphe 

Off  kyng  Mynos  loued  a  secretarie 

Callid  Taurus,  in  Bochas  ye  may  see; 

And  thus  the  kyng,  for  al  his  rialte,  2700 

Deceyued  was,  for  who  may  any  while 

HymsilfF  preserue  wher  women  list  begile? 

For  bi  this  Taurus,  Bochas  berth  witnesse, 

Queen  Pasiphe  hadde  a  child  ful  fair,  2704 

Mynos  nat  knowyng  bi  no  liklynesse 

But  that  the  child  was  born  to  been  his  hair. 

His  trust  was  good,  he  fill  in  no  dispair; 

For  some  husbondis,  as  poetis  han  compiled,        2708 

Which  most  assure  [hem]  rathest  been  begiled. 

Innocentis  can  nat  deeme  a-mysse, 

Namli  ofFwyues  that  be  fouwde  trewe; 

Clerkis  may  write,  but  doutles  thus  it  isse,  2712 

Off  ther  nature  thei  loue  no  thynges  newe: 

Stedfast  off  herte,  thei  chaunge  nat  her  hewe; 

Hawkes  best  preued,  suwwhile  a  chek  can  make, 

Yit  for  o  faute  the  foul  is  nat  forsake.  2716 

Off  these  materes  write  I  will  no  more. 

But  ay  the  tribut  &  seruage  off  the  town 

Procedith  foorth,  thei  cowstreyned  wer  so  sore, 

Lich  as  ther  lott  turned  up  and  doun;  2720 

For  ther  was  maad[e]  non  excepcioun 

Off  hih  nor  louh,  nothir  for  sour  nor  swete, 

But  as  it  fill,  thei  were  sent  into  Crete. 

2695.  from  Atthenes  doun  sent  R. 

2696.  bookis]  folk  R.       2697.    Posiphe  R. 

2704.  Posiphe  R.       2705.   liklynesse]  liknesse  R. 

2706.  that  at  R. 

2709.  hem]  om.  J,  R.        2715.   sumwhlle]   sume   tyme  R  — 
can]  gan  R. 

2716.  o]  a  R  —  fouyl  R. 

2717.  these  materes]  this  mateer  R  —  will  I  R. 
2719.  wer  constreynyd  R.       2721.   made  was  R. 

BK.  l3 

The  Adventures  of  Theseus 




The*  statut  was  so  inli  rigerous, 

Thei  took  ther  sort  as  it  cam  a-boute, 

Til  atte  laste  it  fill  on  Theseus, 

That  he  mut  gon  foorth  a-mong  the  route, 

Kyng  Eges  sone,  beyng  in  gret  doute 

Touchyng  his  liiF,  which  myht  nat  be  socoured, 

But  that  he  muste  with  othre  be  deuoured. 

Which  Theseus,  for  his  worthynesse,  [p,  35] 

And  off  his  knyhthod  for  the  gret  encres  2732 

Thoruh  manly  force,  &  for  his  hih  prowesse 
Whilom  was  callid  the  seconde  Hercules, 
Mong  Amazones  put  hymselfF  in  pres, 
Weddid  Ypolita,  as  bookis  specefie. 
The  hardi  queen  [callid]  off  Femynye. 

And  afftirward  to  Thebes  he  is  gon, 

Halp  there  the  ladies  in  especiall, 

Which  that  cowpleyned  vpon  the  kyng  Creon, 

Which  hem  destourbed,  lik  ther  estat  roiall 

To  holde  and  halwe  the  festis  funerall 

Off  ther  lordis,  as  queenys  &  pryncessis, 

Off  wifli  trouthe  to  shewe  ther  kyndenessis. 

For  whan  this  Duk  the  maner  hadde  seyn, 

And  off  Creon  the  grete  iniquite, 

To  the  ladies  he  made  delyuere  a-geyn 

Ther  lordis  bonys,  off  routhe  &  off  pite. 

Yit  in  his  youthe  out  off  his  cite 

He  was  delyuered,  bi  statut  ful  odible. 

To  be  deuoured  off  this  beeste  horrible. 

He  goth  to  prisoun,  for  al  his  semlynesse. 

As  the  statut  felli  dede  ordeyne; 

But  off  routhe  and  off  gentilesse, 

Hym  to  preserue  from  that  dedli  peyne. 

Off  kyng  Mynos  the  goodli  douhtren  tweyne, 

Adriane  shoop  off  a  remedie, 

And  faire  Phedra,  that  he  shal  nat  die. 

Thoruh  ther  helpe  he  hath  the  monstre  slayn. 
That  was  so  dreedful  &  ougli  for  to  see; 
Bi  hem  he  scapid,  wheroff  he  was  ful  fayn. 

and  Theieu*. 











queen  of  the 


and  helped 
the  ladies  of 
against  the 
tyranny  of 

sent  to 


daughters  re- 
solved to 
save  him 
from  the 

which  he  slew. 
^       He  falscljr  de- 
2700     scrted 

Ariadne  for 

2724.  The]  Ther  B. 

2735.  Among  Amozones  he  put  R.         2736.  Ipolito  R. 

2741.  disturblid  R.         2748.   Ther]  The  R.         2757.   ofr>m  R. 

2758.  shal]  shuld  R.         2760.   so]  om.  R.  2761.  wheroflT]  wherfor  R. 


Theseus  forsakes  Ariadne  for  Phadra 


and  Ariadne 
became  the 
wife  of 

Unlike  men, 
women  are 
constant,  un- 
less their 
husbands  be- 
have badly 
to  them. 

Fortune  was 
unkind  to 

Pasiphae  com- 
should  bear 
such  things 
in  patience), 
his  daughters 
ran  away, 
the  Minotaur 
was  killed, 
Theseus  es- 
caped, Athens 
was  freed  from 
its  tribute,  and 
Theseus  for- 
sook Ariadne 
and  married 

Lad  hem  with  hym,  toward  his  centre. 

And  hi  the  weie,  deuoid  off  al  pite, 

Adriane  he  falsli  hath  forsake  2764 

A-geyn  his  surance,  &  Phedra  he  hath  take. 

Amyd  the  se  [he]  lefFt  hir  in  an  ile, 

Toward  no  parti  she  knew  no  declyn; 

She  crieth,  wepith,  alias,  the  harde  while!  2768 

For  off  hir  fate  this  was  the  mortal  fyn, 

That  for  pite  Bachus,  the  god  off  wyn, 

Took  hir  to  wyue,  whos  crowne  of  stonys  fyne 

Doth  now  in  heuene  with  the  sterris  shyne.  2772 

Thus  off  Theseus  ye  may  beholde  and  see 

To  Adryane  the  gret  onstedfastnesse, 

The  grete  ontrouthe,  the  mutabilite. 

The  broke  assurance  and  newfangilnesse;  2776 

But  celi  women  keepe  ther  stedfastnesse 

Ay  ondefouled,  sauff,  sumwhile  off  ther  kynde, 

Thei  must  hew  purueie,  whan  men  be*  founde 

Off  Theseus  I  can  no  more  now  seyn  2780 

In  this  mater  to  make  off  hym  memorie, 
But  to  kyng  Mynos  I  will  resorte  a-geyn 
To  tell  how  Fortune,  ay  fals  &  transitorie, 
In  what  poyntis  diffacid  hath  his  glorie.  2784 

First  off  echon  Bochas  doth  specefie 
Off  Pasiphe  the  foule  aduout[e]rie, 
Which  was  his  wiff,  and  stood  weel  in  his  grace, 
To  his  plesance  she  was  most  souerayne;  2788 

But  a  cloude  off  [a]  smal  trespace 
Made  hir  lord  at  hir  to  disdeyne: 
But  he  off  wisdam  bar  preuyli  his  peyne, 
For  in  this  cas,  this  is  my  sentence,  2792 

Lat  prudent  husbondis  take  hem  to  pacience. 
On*  other  thyngis  Mynos  gan  compleyne, 
Hauyng  in  herte  theroff  ful  gret  greuaunce, 
That  he  so  loste  his  faire  douhtren  tweyne,  2796 

2764.   full  falsly  he  hath  R.     2765.  AyensteR  —  assuraunce  R. 
2766.   Amyd]  In  myddis  R,  J,  H  J  —  he]  om.  H. 
2768.   She  wepith  she  crieth  R.       2772.   the]  ix.  R. 
2776.   and]  &  the  R.         2778.   Ay]  But  euirre  R  —  sumwhile] 

sum  tyme  R.         2779.    be]  been  B  —  founde]  om.  H. 
2781.   In]ofH.  2783.   ay]eu/rreR.  2786.    Posiphe  R, 

H  s,  Pasipha  P.        2789.   2nd  a]  om.  R,  H,  R  3,  P. 
2792.   in  this]  such  R.         2793.   hem]  hede  R. 
2794.  On]  And  on  B,  H  —  Mynos]  om.  H  —  gan]  gan  also  R,  J. 

BK.  l] 

Pbadra  and  Hippolytus 


And  Mynotaurus  slay[e]n  with  myschaunce. 
Eek  onto  hym  it  was  a  gret  penaunce 
That  Theseus  was  gon  at  liberte, 
And  from  al  tribut  delyuered  his  cite. 

It  greued  hym  eek  in  contenance  &  cheer. 

That  Theseus  Adriane  forsook, 

It  hked  hym  nat  also  the  maneer 

Onto  his  wiff  that  he  Phedra  took; 

And  yit  this  Phedra,  lich  as  seith  my  book, 

Hadde  too  sonys  bi  this  Theseus, 

First  Demephon  &  next  Anthilocus. 

Eek  Theseus  afftir  gan  hym  drawe 
Toward  Cecile,  in  steel  armyd  cleene, 
With  Pirotheus,  in  armys  his  felawe. 
For  to  rauysshe  Proserpyna  the  queene. 
But  off  entent  Phedra  ful  oncleene, 
Loued  hir  stepsone  callid  Ypolitus. 
But  for  he  was  to  hire  daungerous. 

And  to  hir  lust  froward  and  contrarie, 
In  his  apport  nat  goodli  nor  benigne, 
Off  fals  entent  anon  she  gan  to  varie. 
And  a-geyn  hym  ful  felli  to  maligne, 
With  a  pretence  off  many  tokne  &  signe 
Off  womanhed,  she  gan  hym  accuse. 
Hire  auoutry  falsli  to  excuse. 

Who  seith  that  women  can  nat  ymagyne 
In  ther  diffence  talis  ful  vntrewe. 
To  ther  desir  yiff  men  list  nat  enclyne 
Nor  on  ther  feyned  fals[e]  wo  to  rewe, 
Anon  thei  can  compasse[n]  thynges  newe, 
Fisshe  and  fynde  out  in  ther  entencioun 
A  couert  cloude  to  shadwe  ther  tresoun. 

She  hath  accusid  yonge  Ypolitus 
Off  fals  auoutri  in  his  tendre  age, 
Tolde  &  affermed  to  duk  Theseus, 
With  ful  bold  cheer[e]  &  a  pleyn  visage. 
How  he  purposed  in  his  furious  rage 





[p.  36] 





2798,  2801,  2808.   Eek]  Also  R,      2803.  nat]  nouth  R. 

2804.   he]  sche  R.      2807.   Demophan  R. 

2816.   nor]  ne  R.       2818.   ayens  his  R.       2819.   many  a  H. 

2823.   ful]  om.  R. 

2825.  Nor]  Neithir  R  —  fals  feyned  R.      2826.  compassh  R. 

2832.   a]  om.  R. 

Theseuj  then 
went  to  Sicfly, 
and  Phxdra 
fell  in  love 
with  her 

■When  he 
repulsed  her, 
she  turned 
on  him 
(women  are 
well  able  to 
lie  in_  their 
own  interest) 

and  accused 
him  to 
Theseus  of 
improper  con- 
duct toward 


The  Death  of  Hippolytus 

[bk.  I 

(Women  are 
very  un- 

of  course  I 
don't  mean 
good  and  in- 
nocent ones, 
but  there 
are  very  few 
of  that  sort.) 

was  frightened 
and  fled. 

His  horses 
ran  away 
and  he  and  his 
chariot  were 
by  a  landslide; 

and  Phaedra, 
fearing  the 
of  Theseus, 
slew  herself. 

Onli  bi  force  hir  beute  to  oppresse, 

HIr  lord  besechyng  to  refourme  &  redresse 

The  grete  iniurie  doon  onto  his  wifF  2836 

Whil  he  was  absent  for  thyngis  that  bar  charge. 

Wyues  off  talis  been  sumwhile  inuentifF 

To  sufFre  ther  tunges  falsli  fleen  at  large; 

But  folk  that  list  off  dauwger  hem  discharge,         2840 

Off  such  accusyng  ne  take  thei  noon  heed 

Til  the  trouthe  be  tried  out  in  deed. 

I  meene  nothyng  off  wyues  that  been  goode, 

Nor  off  women  that  floure  in  innocence;  2844 

For  God  forbeede,  and  the  Hooli  Roode, 

But  men  sholde  do  deu  reuerence 

To  ther  noblesse  and  ther  excellence, 

Declare  ther  bounte  and  ther  vertu  shewe,  2848 

And  more  them  cherisshe  be-cause  ther  be  so  fewe. 

Touchyng  thaccusyng  ageyn  Ypolitus, 

Thouh  it  so  were  that  it  was  fals  in  deede, 

Yit  he  for  shame  and*  feer  off  Theseus,  2852 

As  in  the  story  ye  may  beholde  and  reede, 

In  his  herte  he  cauhte  a  maner  dreede. 

That  he,  alias!  this  cely  yonge  knyht, 

Fledde  &  withdrouh  hym  out  off  his  fadris  siht,   2856 

His  indignaciouw  pleynli  to  eschewe, 

Thouh  bi  desert  in  hym  ther  was  no  lak. 

Off  hasti  dreed  as  he  gan  remewe 

Other  in  a  chaar  or  vpon  hors[e]bak,  2860 

His  hors  affraied,  ther  fill  a  sodeyn  wrak 

DouM  from  a  roche  pendant,  as  ye  shal  lere  — 

He  and  his  chaar  wer  drownyd  bothe  Ifeere. 

Thus  ongilti,  in  his  most  lusti  youthe  2864 

He  was  conueied  to  his  destrucciouw; 

The  sclandre  conspired,  as  it  is  weel  kouthe, 

Bi  fals[e]  Phedra:   but  in  conclusioun 

The  sclandre  turned  to  hir  confusioun;  2868 

For  whan  she  wiste  Ypolitus  was  ded 

Thoruh  hir  defaute,  anon  for  shame  &  dreed 

2834.  oppresse]]  presse  R.  2835.   redresse]  dresse  R. 

2836.  iniurie]  iniquyte  R  —  onto]  to  R. 

2838.  suTwtyme  been  R. 

2840.  folkis  R  —  daunger]  damage  R. 

2850.  thaccusyng]  this  accusyng  R. 

2851.  2nd  it]  he  R  —  was]  wer  H.        2852.   and]  and  for  B. 

BK.  i} 

Pbadras  End.     Sis  era 

She  took  a*  swerd,  ful  sharpfe]  whet  &  grounde, 
And  therwithall  she  roofF  hir  herte  on  tweyne.      2872 
Loo,  how  that  vengaunce  will  euer*  a-geyn  rebounde 
On  hem  that  falsli  doon  ther  bisi  peyne 
To  sclandre  folk;   for  lik  as  thei  ordeyne 
With  ther  defautis  othir  folkis  tattwite, 
God  atte  laste  ther  malice  can  acquite! 

Yit  summe  bookis  off  Phedra  do  recorde 

That  she,  a-shamyd  &  confus  off  this  deede, 

Heeng  hirsilff  up  ful  hih[e]  with  a  corde. 

Loo,  how  fals  sclandre  can  quite  folk  ther  meede! 

Wherfore,  I  counseile  eueri  man  tak  heede. 

In  such  materis  as  stonde  in  noun  certeyn, 

From  hasti  doomys  his  tunge  to  restreyn.  2884 




Such  things 
happen  to 
people  who 
sunder  other*. 

And  it  woold 
also  be  well 
for  men  not 
to  draw 
hasty  con- 
clusions, as 
Theseus  seems 
to  have  done. 

AMONG  these  stories  woful  for  to  reede, 
Al  bespreynt  with  teris  in  his  face, 
Ful  sodenli,  lohn  Mochas  gan  take*  heede, 
A-myd  the  pres  Zizara  cam  in  place  —  2888 

And  how  that  Fortune  gan  eek  to  manace 
This  proude  duk,  ful  myhti  &  notable. 
Off  kyng  labyn  callid  the  grete  constable. 

Off  his  boost  ledere  and  gouemour. 

To  Israel  verray  mortall  fo; 

With  peeple  he  rood  lich  a  conquerour. 

And  wher  that  euer  his  meyne  dede  go. 

The  erthe  quook,  peeplis  drad  hym  so,  2896 

Fledde  from  his  face  wher-as  he  caw  a-ferre. 

Nyne  hundred  waynes  he  hadde  for  the  werre, 

Strongli  enarmedwith  hookesmadelyk*sithes,  [p.  37] 
Whothatapprochedtomayme*hym  &towounde.  2900 
For  this  tirant  off  custum  offte  sithes 

2871.  a]  his  B,  hir  H  —  sherp  I  whet  &  groun  R. 

2872.  roofF]  raff  R  —  on  twejTie]  atwevne  R. 

2873.  that]  om.  H  —  euer]  ay  B,  H,  R  3,  om.  P. 

2876.  defautis]  diffamys  —  to  atwjte  R. 

2877.  malice]  mateer«  H  —  can]  gan  R. 

2880.  ful]  wol  H.       2881.   folk  qu\-te  for  ^  mede  R. 

2884.  hasti]  om.  H  —  hasti  doomvs]  his  hasty  language  R. 

2887.  take]  taken  B.  J-        b     s 

2888.  A-mvd]  In  middes  R  —  in]  to  R. 

2889.  eek]  also  R.       2896.   peple  R. 

2899.  made  lyk]  &  with  B,  H. 

2900.  mayrae]  mayne  B,  H,  H  5  —  hym]  cm.  R,  J. 


2892    njortal  ioc 
to  the  Jews, 


The  Jews  are  ruled  by  Deborah 

[bk.  I 

was  suffered 
by  God  to 
chastise  their 

But  when 
they  repented, 

God  sent 
Deborah  in 
their  defence, 

who  became 
their  leader 
and  judge. 

Hadde  gret  delit  the  lewes  to  confounde; 

And  alle  tho  that  his  swerd  hath  fouwde, 

Kyng  labyn  bad,  the  prynce  ofF  Canaan,  2904 

In  Israel  to  spare  child  nor  man. 

This  Zizara  was  sent  to  been  ther  scourge, 

Bi  Goddis  suffrance  ther  synnes  to  chastise, 

Ther  olde  offences  to  punshen  &  to  pourge,  2908 

As  a  flagelle,  in  many  sundry  wise; 

But  whan  off  resoun  thei  gan  hem  bet  deuyse, 

And  for  ther  trespacis  to  falle  in  repentaunce, 

God  gan  withdrawe  the  hand  off  his  vengaunce.  2912 

For  in  ther  myscheef  thei  gan  the  *  Lord  to  knowe, 

Felyng  the  prikke  off  his  punyciouw; 

And  mercy  thanne  hath  vnbent  the  bowe 

Off  his  fell  ire  and  castigacioun:  2916 

To  God  thei  made  ther  inuocacioun, 

And  he  hem  herde  in  ther  mortal  dreede. 

In  ludicuw  the  story  ye  may  reede, 

How  in  the  while  that  this  Zizara 

Shoop  hym  off  newe  lewes  to  oppresse. 

In  ther  diffence  God  sent  hem  Delbora, 

A  prophetesse,  the  story  berth  witnesse. 

To  yeue  hem  counsail  ther  harmys  to  redresse, 

And  bi  the  sperit  off  hir  prophecye 

For  to  withstonde  the  grete  tirannye 

Off  Zizara,  which  was  descendid  doun 
With  a  gret  boost  into  the  feeld  repeired. 
But  Delbora,  of  hih  discrecioun, 
Whan  that  she  sauh  the  lewes  disespeired, 
And  for  to  fihte  ther  corages  sore  appeired, 
She  made  hem  first  deuoutli  in  ther  dreed 
To  crie  to  God  to  helpe  hem  in  ther  need. 

She  ^as  ther  iuge  and  ther  gouerneresse, 
Cheeff  off  ther  couwsail;  &  off  custom  she, 
Causis  dependyng,  bi  gret  avisynesse, 
That  stood  in  doute,  bi  doom  off  equite 
She  tried  hem  out  vnder  a  palme  tre, 






2904.  thei  om.  R.      2905.  nor]  ne  J,  R  3,  H  5,  P. 

2910.  betj  bettirr  R.       291 1,   ther]  the  R. 

2912.  gan]  can  R.       2913.   the]  ther  B,  H, 

2919.  Marginal  note  in  R:   "No/a  ludicum  iiij  Ca"." 

2921.  the  lewis  R. 

2928.  hoost]  coste  R.      2932.  ther]  \»at  R.      2936.   bi]  of  R. 

BK.  l] 

Dehorab  overcomes  Sisera 


And  was  nat  hasty*  no  mater  to  termyne 

Til  she  the  parties  aflFor  dede  examyne.  2940 

And  whan  she  knew  &  herde  off  the  komyng 

Off  Zizara  with  ful  gret  puissaunce, 

That  was  constable  off  the  myhti  kyng 

Callid  labyn,  with  al  his  ordenaunce,  2944 

Vpon  lewes  for  to  doon  vengaunce, 

This  Delbora  gan  prudentli  entende 

The  lewes  parti  hi  wisdam  to  diffende. 

She  bad  Barach,  hir  husbonde,  anon  riht  i948 

OflF  Neptalym  ten  thousend  with  hym  take, 

Geyn  Zizara  to  fihten  for  ther  riht, 

And  that  he  sholde  a  gret  enarme  make. 

But  he  for  dreed  this  ioume  gan  forsake,  2952 

And  durste  nat  a-geyn  hym  tho  werreye 

But  she  were  present,  and  list  hym  to  conveye. 

"Weel  weel,"  quod  she,  "sithe  it  stondith  so. 

That  off  wantrust  ye  haue  a  maner  dreed,  2956 

I  will  my-silff[e]  gladli  with  you  go, 

You  to  supporte  in  this  grete  need; 

But  tristith  fulli,  as  ye  shal  fynde  in  deed. 

That  a  woman,  with  laude,  honour  &  glor>'^e,        2960 

Shal  fro  you  wynne  the  pris  off  this  victorj^e." 

It  folwid  afftir  sothli  as  she  saide. 

Auysili  she  made  hir  ordynaunce, 

And  the  cheeff  charge  on  hirsilff  she  laide,  2964 

As  pr3mcesse  off  lewes  gouemaunce. 

And  prudentli  gan  hirsilff  auaunce, 

With  God  conueied  &  support  off  his  grace, 

With  Zizara  to  meetyn  in  the  face.  2968 

And  specialli  touchyng  this  viage, 

God  took  a-way  the  sperit  and  the  myht 

Fro  Zizara,  his  force  and  his  corage, 

That  he  was  ferfull  tentren  into  fyht,  2972 

Kepte  his  chaar  &  took  hym  onto  flyht, 

Knowyng  no  place  seurli  in  tabide. 

Til  that  label,  a  woman,  dede  hym  hide 

2939.  hasty]  hardi  B,  hardy  H. 

2940.  affome  H.        2941.   herd  &  knew  R. 
2948.   Barish  H. 

2950.  GejTi]  Ajens  R. 

2956.  That]  Than  H.      2972.   feerdful  R. 

2973.   onto] into  R.       2975.   lael R. 

When  the 
heard  that 
Sisera  had 
come  with 
his  army. 

she  bade 
Barak,  her 
husband,  lead 
a  host  against 
him.     But  a5 
Barak  was 

she  herself 
took  com- 
mand of  hi] 

Sisera  fled 

to  the  tent 
of  a  woman 
caUed  Jael. 



drove  a  nail 
into  his 
head  while 
he  slept. 

The  Death  of  the  Tyrant  Sis  era 

Cbk.  I 

Such  is  the 
fate  of 

Let  Sisera  be 
an  example 
to  you.    No 
lordship  en- 
dures with- 
out virtue. 

Sisera's  pride 
was  humbled, 
when  he  stood 
at  the  height 
of  his  glory. 

Withywne  hir  tente,  almost  ded  for  dreed,  2976 

Vnder  a  mantell  desirous  for  to  drynke. 

She  gaiF  hym  mylk;  the  slep  fill  in  his  hed, 

And  whil  that  he  for  heuynesse  gan  wynke 

And  sadli  slepte,  she  gan  hir  to  be-thynke;  2980 

Thouhte  she  wolde  for  Zizara  so  shape, 

That  with  the  lifF  he  shulde  nat  escape. 

She  took  a  nail  that  was  sharp  &  long,  [p.  38] 

And  couertli  gan  hirsilfF  auauwce;  2984 

With  an  hamer  myhti,  round  &  strong 
She  drofF  the  nail  —  loo,  this  was  hir  vengaunce!  — 
Thoruhout  his  hed :  seeth  heer  Jje  sodeyw  chauwce 
Off  tirantis  that  trusten  on  Fortune,  2988 

Which  wil  nat  sufFre  hem  longe  to  cowtune 

In  ther  fals  vsurped  tirannye 

To  holde  peeplis  in  long  subiecciouw. 

She  can  hem  blandissh*  with  hir  flat[e]rye  2992 

Vnder  a  colour  off  fals  collusiouw, 

And  with  a  sodeyn  transmutaciouw 

Fortune  hem  can,  that  pore  folkis  trouble, 

Reuerse  ther  pride  with  hir  face  double. 

What  sholde  I  lengere  in  this  mater  tarye.? 
Thouh  that  lordshep  be  myhti  &  famous, 
Lat  Zizara  been  your  exauwplarye. 
It  nat  endureth  but  it  be  vertuous. 
Conquest,  victory,  thouh  thei  be  glorious. 
Onto  the  world,  yifF  vertu  be  behynde. 
Men  nat  reioise  to  haue  ther  name  in  mynde. 

For  Fortune  thoruh  hir  frowardnesse 
Hath  kyngis  put  out  off  ther  regiouws, 
And  she  hath  also  thoruh  hir  doubilnesse 
Destroied  lynages,  with  ther  successiouws: 
Made  she  nat  whilom  hir  translaciouws 
Off  the  kyngdam  callid  Argyuois, 
To  be  transportid  to  Lacedemonois.? 

The  same  tyme  whan  Zizara  the  proude 
Gan  Goddis  peeple  to  putte  vnder  foote, 
Famys  truwpe  bleuh  his  name  up  loude 






2986.  this  was  hir]  heer  H.      2988.  OfF]  On  R. 
2992.   blandisshen  B.      2995.   folk  R.      2996.   hir]  the  R. 
3008.   whilom]  sume  tyme  R.       3010.   Lacidomonois  R,  J. 
3013.   Famys]  Fame  his  R. 

BK.  0 

How  Gideon  defeated  the  Midianites 

With  sugred  sownys  semyng  wonder  soote; 

But  al  his  pride  was  rent  up  hi  the  roote, 

Whan  that  his  glori  was  outward  most  shewyng;3oi6 

But  who  may  truste  on  any  worldli  thyng! 


FOLK  han  afFom  seyn  the  fundacioun, 
Bi  remembraunce  off  old  antiquite, 
OfF  myhti  Troye  and*  ofF  Ylioun, 
Afftir  destroied  bi  Grekis  that  cite. 
To  vs  declaryng  the  mutabiHte 
OiF  fals  Fortune,  whos  fauowr  last  no  while, 
Shewyng  ay  trewest  whan  she  will  begile. 

So  variable  she  is  in  hir  delites, 

Hir  wheel  vntrusti  &  frowardli  meuyng, 

Record  I  take  off  the  Madianytes, 

Ther  vnwar  fall  ful  doolfully  pleynyng, 

Which  shewed  hemsilff  [ful]  pitousli  wepyng 

To  lohn  Bocha/,  as  he  in  writyng  souhte 

How  that  Fortune  a-geyn  ther  princis  wrouhte, 

Which  that  gouemed  the  lond  off  Madian, 
Trustyng  off  pride  in  ther  gret  puissaunce; 
And  a-geyn  lewes  a  werre  thei  be-gan, 
Purposyng  to  brynge  hem  to  vttraunce: 
But  God  that  holdeth  off  werre  the  balaunce. 
And  can  off  pryncis  oppresse  the  veynglory, 
Yeueth  wher  hym  list  conquest  &  victory, 

Nat  to  gret  nouwbre  nor  to  gret  multitude, 
But  to  that  parti  where  he  seeth  the  riht; 
His  dreedful  hand,  shortli  to  conclude, 
So  halt  up  bi  grace  and  yeueth  liht* 
The  hiere  hand,  where  he  caste  his  siht; 
List  his  power  and  his  fauour  shewe, 
Be  it  to  many  or  be  it  onto  fewe. 

The  wrong[e]  parti  gladli  hath  a  fall, 

Thouh  ther  be  mylliouns  many  mo  than  oon: 

I  take  witnesse  off  leroboall. 

favour  dcei 
not  last 




Think  of  the 
who  came 
weeping  to 


They  begin 
a  war  on 
3036    -^tejews. 

but  God 
gives  victory 
-„.-    not  to  num- 
3°40     bcrs  but  to 



3014.   sugred]  sacrid  R. 

3018.   fimyacioun  J.       3020.   and]  and  eek  B. 

3024.   ay  trewest]  euer  trust  R.       3030.   writjTig]  bokys  H. 

3039.   nor]  ne  R. 

3042.   halt]  holdith  H  5  —  So  haldith  vp  his  grace  P  —  liht] 

to  eu^ry  wiht  B,  H,  euery  wight  P. 
3046.  in  R:  nofa  Ca°  vj  &  Ca°  vij  ludicuwi. 


Gideon  and  the  Midianites 

Hbk.  I 

Gideon  de- 
feated the 
with  300  men. 

Although  he 
was  weak,  in 

God  gave 
him  victory. 

They  ter- 
rified their 
enemies  by 
blowing  their 
empty  pots 
and  suddenly 
shewing  the 
light  of  their 

Which  is  also  callid  Gedeon, 

That  with  thre  hundrid  fauht  a-geyn  the  foon 

Off  Israeli,  the  Bible  can  deuyse, 

Whan  he  to  God  hadde  doon  his  sacrefise. 

Shewyng  to  hym  a  signe  merueilous, 
Whan  the  flees  with  siluer  deuh  ful  sheene 
Was  spreynt  and  wet,  the  story  tellith  thus, 
And  round  a-boute  the  soil  and  al  the  greene 
Was  founde  drie,  and  no  drope  scene. 
In  tokne  onli,  this  duk,  this  knyhtli  man, 
Shold  ha[ue]  victory  off  al  Madian. 

Thus  Gedeon  took  with  hym  but  a  fewe, 
Thre  hundred  chose,  which  laped*  the  ryuer, 
God  onto  hym  such  toknys  dede  shewe 
And  euydencis  afForn  that  wer  ful  cleer. 
That  he  sholde  been  off  riht  good  cheer 
And  on  no  parti  his  aduersaries  dreede, 
For  no*  prowesse  nouthir*  [for]  manheede. 

Where  God  a-boue  holdith*  chauwpartie. 
There  may  a-geyn  hym  be  makid  no  diffence; 
Force,  strengthe,  wisdam  nor  cheualrie 
A-geyns  his  myht  ar  feeble  ofi^  resistence. 
This  was  weel  preued  in  experience. 
Whan  thre  hundred  with  Gedeon  in  noumbre 
So  many  thousandis  bi  grace  dede  encoumbre. 

This  said[e]  peeple,  deuyded  into  thre. 
With  ther  trumpis,  vpon  the  dirk[e]  nyht, 
Bi  Gedeon,  that  hadde  the  souereynte. 
With  void[e]  pottis  &  laumpis  therynne  lyht; 
And  thus  arraied  thei  entred  into  fyht. 
But  onto  hem  this  tokne  was  first  knowe: 
Whan  Gedeon  his  truwpe  dede  blowe, 

Thei  bleuh  echon  &  loude  gan  to  crie, 
Brak  ther  pottis  and  shewed  anon  riht, 
As  the  story  pleynli  doth  specefie. 





[p.  39] 




3050.   thre]]  iij  B. 

3061.  laped]  scaped  B,  P,  H  5,  scapid  H,  J,  scapide  R  3  — 
which]  with  R.       3064.]  om.  R. 

3066.  For  no]  ne  for  noo  R  3,  —  no]  nouht  B,  noujt  J,  nought 
H  s  —  nouthir]  nor  B,  neithir  R,  xxt\\>eT  J,  neyther  P. 

3067.  holdith]  halt  B,  H.       3069.   nor]  nethir  R, 
3070.   ar]  or  R.      3075.  trumpis]  triumphis  R. 
3083.   doth  pleynly  R. 

BK.  l] 

The  Envoy  to  Gideon 


Ther  laumpis  shewed  with  a  ful  sodeyn  liht, 
Wheroff  ther  enmyes,  astonyd  in  ther  siht, 
Were  so  troublid  vpon  euery  side, 
That  in  the  feeld  thei  durst[e]  nat  a-bide. 

The  cri  was  this  off  hem  euerichon : 
"Thank  to  the  Lord  most  noble  &  glorious, 
Pris  to  the  suerd  off  myhti  Gedeon, 
Which  vs  hath  causid  to  be  victorious, 
Maad  our  enmyes,  most  malicious, 
Thoruh  influence  onli  off  his  grace, 
For  verray  feer  to  fleen  affom  our  face!" 

Thus  can  the  Lord  off  his  magnyficence 
The  meeke  exalte  &  the  proude  oppresse, 
Lich  as  he  fyndeth  in  hertis  difference, 
So  off  his  power  he  can  his  domys  dresse, 
Merci  ay  meynt  with  his  rihtwisnesse. 
His  iugementis  with  long  delay  differrid; 
And  or  he  punshe,  pite  is  ay  preferrid. 

3084    ^^  hereupon  the 





Thus  the 
Lord  can 

eialt  the 
meek  and 
humble  the 

C|  Lenvoye. 

MIHTI  Princis,  remembre  that  your  power 
Is  transitory  &  no  while  a-bidyng. 
As  this  tragedie  hath  rehersid  heer  3104 

Bi  euidencis  ful  notable  in  shewyng. 
And  bexaumples,  in  substaunce  witnessyng. 
That  all  tirantis,  platli  to  termyne, 
Mut  from  ther  staat  sodenli  declyne.  3108 

Phebus  is  fresshest  in  his  mydday  speer, 

His  bemys  brihtest  &  hattest  out  spredyng; 

But  cloudi  skies  ful  offte  approche  neer 

Teclipse  his  liht  with  ther  vnwar  comyng:  3112 

Noon  ertheli  ioie  is  longe  heer  abidyng, 

Record  off  Titan,  which  stound[e]meel  doth  shyne, 

Yit  toward  nyht  his  stremys  doun  declyne. 

Whan  that  Fortune  is  fairest  off  hir  cheer  3 116 

Bi  apparence,  and  most  blandisshyng, 
Thanne  is  [she]  falsest  ech  sesouw  off  the  yeer, 
Hir  sodeyn  chauwgis  now  vp  now  doun  turnyng; 
The  nyhtyngale  in  May  doth  fresshli  syng,  3120 

3089.  Thank]  than  H. 

3109.  Phebus  is  fresshest]  Phebtt/  shen  freish  R. 

3 1 10.  out  spredyng]  out  shewyng  R.       3 119.   chaunge  R. 

Princes,  re- 
member, your 
power  is  not 

Phoebus  is 
brightest     at 
midday,  but 
his  light  is 
often  dimmed 
by  clouds. 


Fortune  seems 
fairest,  then 
is  she  most 
ready  to 


The  Fall  of  Jabin 

[bk.  I 

the  un- 
certainty of 
all  earthly 


But  a  bakwynter  can  somer  vndermyne 
And  al  his  fresshnesse  sodenli  declyne. 

Al  ertheli  blisse  dependith  in  a  weer, 

In  a  ballauwce  oneuenli  hangyng,  —  3124 

O  Pryncis,  Pryncessis  most  souereyn  &  enteer, 

In  this  tragedie  conceyueth  be  redyng, 

How  that  estatis  bi  ful  vnwar  chaungyng, 

Whilom  ful  worthi,  ther  lyues  dede  fyne,  3128 

Whan  fro  ther  noblesse  thei  wer  maad  to  declyne. 

Now  I  will 
write  about 
the  fall  of 
Jabin,  rebel 
to  God, 

who  long 
forbore  to 
punish  him, 

but  finajly 
threw  him 
down  in  the 
midst  of  his 

[Of  mighty  labjrn  Kjmg  of  Canane,  of  quene  locasta/ 
and  how  Thebes  was  destroied.]]  ^ 

NOW  must  I  write  the  grete  sodeyn  fall 
Off  myhti  labyn  for  his  iniquite, 
Which  onto  lewes  was  ewmy  ful  mortall,  3132 

With  sceptre  &  crowne  regnyng  in  Canane, 
And  vpon  AfFrik  hadde  the  souereynte, 
Rebel  to  God,  and  list  hym  nat  obeye. 
But  euer  redi  his  peeple  to  werreye.  3136 

The  Lord  a-boue,  seyng  the  tiranwye, 

Forbar  his  hand  with  ful  long  suffrauwce, 

And  was  nat  hasti  on  his  obstynacye, 

Lich  his  desert,  for  to  do  vengauwce;  3140 

But  ay  this  labyn  bi  contynuauwce 

Endured  foorth  in  his  cursidnesse. 

Til  that  the  suerd  off  Goddis  rihtwisnesse 

Was  whet  ageyn  hym,  this  tirant  to  chastise.        3144 

And  to  represse  his  rebelliouw, 

From  his  kyngdam,  the  story  doth  deuise, 

Mid  off  his  pride  he  was  pullid  doun, 

Texemplefie  wher  domynacioun  3148 

Is  fouwde  wilfuU  trouthe  to  ouercaste,* 

God  wil  nat  suffre  ther  power  longe  laste. 

For  this  labyn,  founde  alway  froward,  [p.  40] 

Off  hih  disdeyn  list  nat  the  Lord  to  knowe,  3152 

Therfore  his  power  drouh  alwey  bakward, 

3 121.  abak  wynter  H  5,  aback  winter  P. 

3127.  ful]  om.  R.       3128.   Whilom]  Sumtyme  R. 

3133.  Chanane  R.     3136.   redi]  redy  is  R.     3137.   the]  this  R. 

3141.  ay]eu^rR.       3147.   Mid]  In  myddis  R. 

3148.  wher]  the  R. 

3149.  to  ouercaste]  touercaste  B. 

I  MS.  J.  leaf  17  recto. 

BK.  l] 

S^en  Jocasta  and  Laius 

And  his  empire  was  I-brouht  ful  lowe; 
His  roial  fame  Fortune  hath  ouerthrowe, 
His  name  eclipsid,  that  whilom  shon  so  cleer 
Off  grete  Cison  beside  the  ryueer. 



OFF  queen  locasta  Bochas  doth  eek  endite, 
Pryncesse  off  Thebes,  a  myhti  gret  cite, 
Off  hir  vnhappis  he  doolfulli  doth  write,  3160 

Ymagynyng  how  he  dede  hir  see 
To  hym  appeere  in  gret  aduersite, 
Lich  a  woman  that  wolde  in  teres  reyne. 
For  that  Fortune  gan  at  hir  so  disdeyne.  3164 

Thouh  she  were  diffacid  off  figure, 

Ther  shewed  in  hir  a  maner  maieste 

Off  queenli  honour,  pleynli  to  discure 

Hir  infortunys  and  hir  infeUcite,  3168 

And  to  declare  pleynH  how  that  she 

Off  all  princessis  which  euer  stood  in  staat. 

She  was  hirselff  the  moste  infortunat. 

Which  gaff  to  Bochas  ful  gret  occasioun,  3172 

Whan  he  sauh  hir  pitous  apparaile, 

For  to  make  a  lamentacioun 

Off  vnkouth  sorwe  which  dede  hir  assaile. 

With  a  tragedie  to  wepyn  and  bewaile  3176 

Hir  inportable  &  straunge  dedli  striff. 

Which  that  she  hadde  durj^ng  al  hir  liff. 

He  wrot  off  hir  a  story  large  &  pleyn, 

And  off  hir  birthe  first  he  doth  diffyne,  3180 

And  affermeth  in  his  book  certeyn. 

She  was  descendid  off  a  noble  lyne; 

In  flouryng  age  eek  whan  she  dede  shyne, 

She  weddid  was,  for  hir  gret  beute,  3184 

Onto  the  kyng  off  Thebes  the  cite. 

Which  in  his  tyme  was  callid  Layus. 

And  whan  hir  wombe  bi  processe  gan  arise. 

The  kyng  was  glad  and  also  desirous  3188 

31543    And  his  empire  was  aftir  \)at  brouht  ful  lowe  R. 

3156.  whilom]  some  R.       3157.   Cisoun  J. 

3158.  eek]  also  R.       3168.   hir  felicittee  R. 

3170.  stoden  in  estate  R.       3171.   the]  om.  R. 

3173.  sauh]  seeth  R.       3175.   sorowis  R. 

3176.  bewaile]  to  waile  R. 

3179.  wrot]  writ  R,  H,  P,  write  H  5,  writte  J  —  a]  om.  R. 

3183.  eek]  also  R  —  she]  l^Jt  she  R.    3187.  arise]  to  rise  H. 

Bochas  also 
tells  the  story 
of  Queen 


who  appeared 
before  him 
proudly  declar- 
ing her  misfor- 

She  came  of  a 
noble  line  and 
married  Laius, 
king  of  Thebes, 

88  The  Infancy  of  (Edipus  |^bk.  i 

The  childes  fate  to  knowe[n]  in  sum  wise, 
And  thouhte  he  wolde  go  do  sacrefise 
Onto  Appollo,  to  haue*  knowyng  aforn* 
Touchyng  this  child  whan  that  it  were  born.        3192 
who.  when  she  What  sholdc  folwcn  in  conclusioun, 

became  ^^  .  i   i  •   r 

pregnant,         He  was  desiFOus  and  hasti  for  to  see, 

asked  Apollo       'p^.  t  •     i        i  i-     i-  •    • 

what  would  be  T  irst  Di  the  heuenli  disposiciouw, 

of  the^cwid.      And  hi  the  fauour,  yifF  it  wolde  be,  3196 

Off  Appollos  myhti  deite 
To  haue  answere,  a-mong  his  rihtis  all, 
Off  his  child  what  fate  ther  sholde  fall. 

Apollo  said  it  His  answere,  thouh  it  were  contrarie  3200 

was  latcci  to       «-,      i"i*  •  •!         «jf*'!i 

kill  its  father,    lo  his  desir,  yit  was  It  thus*  in  deede: 
Appollo  told  hym,  &  list  no  lenger  tarie, 
That  this  child  sholde  verraili  in  deede 
Slen  his  fader,  &  make  his  sides  bleede,  3204 

And  with  his  handis;  ther  was  noon  othir  weie, 
But  on  his  swerd  he  muste  needis  deie. 

When  his  son    The  kyng  was  heuy  and  trist  off  this  sentence, 
king  bade  men  Sorful  in  hcrte,  God  wot,  and  no  thyng  fayn,       3208 
death  in  a        And  caste  afFom  thoruh  his  prouidence, 
crest.  That  his  sone  in  al  haste  sholde  be  slayn. 

And  that  he  wolde  nat  oon  hour  delayn 
AfFtir  his  berthe,  but  bad  his  men  to  goon  3212 

Into  a  forest  and  sle  the  child  a-noon. 

Lik  his  biddyng  the  mynystres  wrouhte  in  deede, 

Takyng  the  child,  tendre  and  yong  off  age; 

And  in-tafForest  with  hem  thei  gan  it  leede,  3216 

To  be  deuoured  off  beestis  most  sauage: 

The  mooder,  alias,  fill  almost  in  a  rage, 

Seyng  hir  child,  so  inli  fair  off  face, 

Shal  thus  be  ded,  and  dede  no  trespace.  3220 

His  mother  al-  Litil  wondcr  thouh  she  felte  smerte! 

most  went  mad    _,         ,,  _ 

for  grief,  1  o  all  womcn  1  reporte  me. 

And  onto  moodres  that  be  tendre  off  herte, 

3189.  fate]  state  R,  staat  J.  3191-   to  haue]  ta   B  — 

knowlychyng  afForn  R — aforn]  beforn  H,  tofForn  B. 

3192.  were]  was  R.         3193-   What]  That  R. 

3196.  yifF]  om.  R.  3198.   rihtis]  wittis  R. 

3199.  ther  sholde  fall]  schuld  befall  R. 

3201.  thus]  this  B.       3205.   noon  othir]  nd\^er  R. 

3208.  sorowfull  H  —  in]  off  R.       3209.   thoruh]  om.  R. 

321 1,  delayn]  delay  R.  3215.   yong  &  tendre  H. 

3216.  into  a  forest  R  —  it]  hym  R.      3218.   almost  fill  into  R. 

BK.  l] 

(Edipus  is  rescued  by  a  Shepherd 


In  this  mater  iuges  for  to  be.  3224 

Was  it  nat  routhe,  was  it  nat  pite. 

That  a  pryncesse  and  a  queen,  alias, 

Sholde  knowyn  hir  child  deuoured  in  such  cas! 

AfFtir  his  berthe  Layus  took  good  keep,  3228 

Withoute  mercy,  respit  or  delay, 

That  onto  oon,  which  that  kepte  his  sheep, 

This  yonge  child  vpon  a  certeyn  day 

Shal  be  delyuered  in  al  the  haste  he  may,  3232 

To  this  entent,  it  myht  nat  be  socourid, 

But  that  he  sholde  off  beestis  be  deuourid. 

This  seid[e]  shepperde  goth  foorth  a-noon  riht,   [p.41] 

The  child  beholdyng,  benygne  off  look  &  face,      3236 

Thouhte  in  his  herte  &  in  his  inward  siht. 

He  sholde  doon  to  God  a  gret  trespace 

To  slen  this  child;  wherfore  he  dede  hym  grace,  — 

Took  first  a  knyfF,  &  dede  his  besi  peyne  3240 

Thoruhout  his  feet  to  make  holis  tweyne. 

Took  a  smal*  rod  off  a  yong*  oseer, 

Perced  the  feet,  alias,  it  was  pite!  — 

Bond  hj'm  faste,  and  bi  good  leiseer  3244 

The  yonge  child  he  heeng  vpon  a  tre. 

Off  entent  that  he  ne  sholde  be 

Thoruh  wilde  beestis,  cruel  &  sauage. 

Been  sodenli  deuoured  in  ther  rage.  324S 

Vpon  the  tre  whil  he  heeng  thus  bounde. 

Off  auenture  bi  sum  occasioun, 

A  straunge  shepperde  hath  the  child  I-founde,   • 

Which  that  off  routhe  &  pite*  took  hym  doun,     3252 

Bar  it  with  hym  hoom  onto  his  toun. 

Made  his  wiff  for  to  doon  hir  peyne 

To  fostre  the  child  with  hir  brestis  tweyne. 

And  whan  he  was  brouht  foorth  &  recurid,  3256 

And  ful  maad  hool  off  his  woundis  sore. 

The  yonge  child,  which  al  this  hath  endurid, 

When  he  in  age  gan  to  wexe  more, 

And  that  nature  gan  hym  to  restore,  3260 

The  said[e]  shepperde,  that  loued  hym  best  off  all, 

Afftir  his  hurtis  Edippus  dede  hym  call. 

3230.  which]  om.  R.  3241.   feet]  hert  R. 

3242.   smal  aTid  yong  are  transposed  in  B  —  osier  R,  P,  H  5. 
3252.   pite  &  routhe  B,  P.       3253.   onto]  in  to  R. 
3258.  The]  This  R.      3259.   began  R. 

which  was  not 
in  the 

But  the  shep- 
herd who  was 
to  slay  the 
child  had 
and,  piercing 
his  feet,  hung 
him  up  in  a 

where  he  was 
found  by  an- 
other shep- 
herd, who 
cared  for  him. 

and  called  him 


(Edipus  is  adopted  by  the  King  of  Corinth         [bk.  i 

and  presented 
him  to  Queen 
Merope,  wife 
of  Polybus. 

Thus  CEdipus 
became  the 
adopted  son 
and  heir  of  the 
king  of 

How  sudden 
are  the 
changes  of 

People  who 
are  brought 
low  should  not 
God  can  as 
quickly  raise 

For  Edippus  is  no  more  to  seyne, 

Who  that  conceyueth  thexposicioun,  3264 

But  feet  Ipershid  throuhout  bothe  tweyne, 

In  that  language,  as  maad  is  menciouw. 

And  to  Meropa,  wyfF  off  kyng  PoHboun, 

The  shepperde,  ofF  ful  humble  entente,  3268 

Gan  the  child  ful  lowli  to  presente. 

And  for  she  was  bareyn  off  nature. 

She  and  the  kyng  off  oon  afFeccioun 

Took  Edippus  bothe  into  ther  cure,  3272 

As  sone  and  heir  bi  adopciouw, 

To  regne  in  Corynthe  bi  successiouw; 

The  kyng,  the  queen  off  Corynthe  the  contre 

Haddyn  the  child  in  so  gret  cheerte.  3276 

Let  men  considre  in  ther  discreciouw 

Sodeyn  chauwg  off  euery  maner  thyng: 

This  child  sent  out  for  his  destruccioun, 

And  now  prouydid  for  to  been  a  kyng;  3280 

And  thoruh  Fortune,  ay  double  in  hir  werkyng. 

He  that  was  refus  to  beestis  most  sauage. 

Is  now  receyued  to  kyngli  heritage. 

Destitut  he  was  off  his  kenreede,  3284 

Forsake  and  abiect  off  blood  &  off  allie. 

In  tendre  youthe  his  feet  wer  maad  to  bleede, 

Heeng  on  a  tre  and  gan  for  helpe  crie; 

But  God  that  can  in  myscheefF  magnefie  3288 

And  reconforte  folk  disconsolat. 

Hath  maad  this  child  now  so  fortunat, 

And  prouyded  to  been  a  kyngis  heir, 

OfF  hym  that  stood  off  deth  in  auenture.  3292 

Fortune  can  shewe  hir-selff  bothe  foul  &  fair, 

Folkis  brouht  lowe  ful  weel  a~geyn  recure; 

And  such  as  can  pacientli  endure. 

And  list  nat  gruchch  a-geyn  ther  chastisyng,        3296 

God  out  off  myscheeff  can  sodenli  hem  bryng. 

But  whan  Edippus  was  growe  vp  to  good  age, 

Lich  a  yong  prynce  encresyng  in  noblesse, 

Lusti  and  strong,  and  fresh  off  his  corage,  3300 

3269.   Be  gan  R,  J. 

3286.  youthej  yough  R. 

3287.  on]  vp  on  R  —  bigan  for  to  crie  R  —  helpe]  to  H. 
3295.   such  as  can]  sich  (siche)  as  paaently  can  R,  J. 
3299.   encresshyng  R. 

BK.  l] 

(Edipus  is  iold  his  Fate 


CEdipus  soon 
learned  that  he 
was  not  the 
real  son  of 
King  Polybus, 

and  consulting 
the  oracle  of 

Off  auenture  it  fill  so  in  sothnesse, 

Other  be  strifF  or  be  sum  frowardnesse, 

Or  be  sum  contek,  he  hadde  knowlechyng 

How  he  was  nat  sone  onto  the  kyng  3304 

As  be  discent,  but  a  ferr  foreyn. 

Wherupon  ful  sore  he  gan  to  muse, 

And  for  to  knowe  and  be  put  in  certeyn, 

Thouhte  he  wolde  sum  maner  practik  vse;  3308 

And  to  the  kyng  he  gan  hymselff  excuse, 

For  a  tyme  withdrawyn  his  presence, 

Til  that  he  knew  bi  sum  experience 

Or  bi  sum  signe  how  the  mateer  stood.  3312 

Thouhte  he  wolde  doon  his  dilligence 

To  knowe  his  fader,  and  also  off  what  blood 

He  was  descendid,  and  haue  sum  euidence 

Touchyng  trouthe,  how  it  stood  in  sentence.         3316 

And  heerupon  to  be  certefied. 

Toward  AppoUo  faste  he  hath  hym  hied. 

Which  in  Cirra  worsheped  was  that  tyme, 

And  yaff  answeris  thoruh  his  deite 

To  folk  that  cam,  at  euen  and  at  pryme. 

Off  eueri  doute  and  ambiguite. 

And  there  Edippus,  fallyng  on  his  kne, 

Afftir  his  offryng  hadde  answere  anoon. 

Toward  Greece  that  he  sholde  goon 

Onto  a  mounteyn  that  Phocis  bar  the  name; 

And  there  he  sholde  off  his  kenrede  heere. 

Eek  lik  his  fate  the  answere  was  the  same:  3328 

He  sholde  slen  his  owne  fader  deere. 

And  afftir  that  to  Thebes  drawe  hym  neere, 

Wedde  his  mooder,  off  verray  ignoraunce, 

Callid  locasta,  thoruh  his  vnhappi  chaunce.  3332 

He  list  no  lengere  tarien  nor  abide,  which  he  did. 

This  said  Edippus,  but  foorth  in  haste  goth  he. 

And  on  his  weye  he  gan  [anon]  to  ride. 

Til  he  the  mounteyn  off  Phocis  dede  see,  3336 

Vnder  the  which  stood  a  gret  contre 

3304.   How]  om.  H. 

3306.   bigan  R.      3308.   practik]  practiff  R.      3309.   began  R. 
3320.   answere  R.     3325.   that]  om.  R.     3326.   Onto]  In  to  R. 
3328.   Eek]  Also  R.         3333.   nor]  ner  R. 
3335.   he  gan  anon]  gan  H,  R  3,  he  began  anoon  J,  he  biganne 
anon  H  5,  he  gan  anone  P,  began  anone  R. 

[p.  42] 


was  told  that 
he  would  hear 
of  his  kindred 
if  he  went  to 
Ml  Phocis, 

92  (Edipus  kills  his  Father ^  Laius  [bk.  i 

Callid  Citoiens,  which  that  tyme  in  certeyn 
Werreied  hem  that  were  on  the  mouwteyn. 

and  there  by     His  fadcF  Layus,  throuh  his  cheualrie,  3340 

his^father/       With  Citoicns  IS  cntFid  in  bataile; 

Laius.  ^^^  Edippus  cam  with  the  partie 

OfF  the  hiUis,  armed  in  plate  &  maile. 

And  as  thei  gan  ech  other  to  assaile,  3344 

Among  the  pres  at  ther  encount[e]ryng, 

OfF  auenture  Edippus  slouh  the  kyng. 

without  knowing  Onknowe  to  hym  that  he  his  fader  was, 

Hauyng  therofFno  suspeciouw;  3348 

Passid  his  way,  platli  this  the  cas. 

And  eek  onknowe  he  cam  onto  the  toun 

OfF  myhti  Thebes,  where  for  his  hih  renoun 

He  was  receyued  with  ful  gret  reuerence,  3352 

Because  that  he  slouh  in  ther  difFence 

At  Thebes  he    Spynx  the  setpent,  horrible  for  to  see, 

was  received        iirv  m  j  j   l  ■   •  ^       • 

with  great        Wiiilom  ordcyncd  bi  mcantaciouns 

heTw^th?"'*  For  to  destroie  the  toun  and  the  contre  3356 

pentThat  Trol   ^^  ^^^  compassid  sleihti  questiouns. 

pounded  a  rid-  Slouh  man  and  child  in  all  the  regiouns, 

die  to  be  solved    r^       ■,  i  i      i  •        ■     i 

on  pain  of        buch  as  nat  koude  bi  wisdam  or  resoun 

Make  ofF  his  problem  pleyn  exposiciouw.  3360 

Who  passid  bi,  he  koude  hym  nat  excuse, 

But  the  serpent  hym  felly  wolde  assaile. 

With  a  problem  make  hym  for  to  muse, 

Callid  ofF  suwme  an  vnkouth  dyuynaile,  3364 

Which  for  texpowne,  who  that  dede  faile, 

Ther  was  noon  helpe  nor  other  remedie, 

Bi  the  statut  but  that  he  muste  deie. 

Since  all  people  And  for  allc  folk  ha[ue]  nat  knowlechyng  3368 

this^riddie?!     OfF  this  dcmauwde  what  it  was  in  deede, 
will  tell  It  to     J  ^jji  reherse  it  heer  in  my  writyng 

Compendiousli,  that  men  may  it  reede. 

First  this  serpent,  who  that  list  take  heede,  3372 

Was  monstruous  &  spak  a-geyn  nature. 

And  yifF  it  fill  that  any  creature, 

3338.   in]  om.  R.       3343.   hil  R.       3344.   began  R. 
3347.   Onknowe]  Vnknowen  R.       3349-   this  is  R,  J,  H  5. 
3350.   eek]  also  R  —  onto]  to  R.      3356.   destrie  R. 
3362.   wolde  hym  felly  R.       3364.   summe  an]  sum  men  R. 
3366.   nor]  nethif  R.      3373.   ayenst  R. 

BK.  i]  The  Riddle  of  the  Sphinx  93 

Man  or  woman  sholde  forbi  pace, 

Hih  or  low,  off  al  that  regioun,  3376 

As  I  seide  erst,  ther  was  noon  othir  grace. 

But  ylff  he  made  an  exposlcioun 

Off  this  serpentis  froward  questioun, 

He  muste  deie  and  make  no  difFence.  3380 

Which  demaunde  was  this  in  sentence: 

The  serpent  askid,  what  thyng  may  that  be,  u?"hat"2.nnot 

Beeste  or  foul,  whan  it  is  foorth  brouht,  ^^^^  Trld^goej 

That  hath  no  power  to  stonde,  go  nor  fle;  3384  fi"t  on  four. 

Airr-  i*rr"i  IL  *■         °°  three, 

And  aiFtirward,  yiiF  it  be  weel  souht,  and  finally  on 

Goth  first  on  foure,  &  ellis  goth  he  nouht:  wards  on  three 

Afftir  bi  processe,  on  thre,  &  thanne  on  tweyne;  """^  ^°"''  ***'°^ 

And  efFt  ageyn,  as  nature  doth  ordeyne,  3388 

He  goth  on  thre  and  efft  on  foure  ageyn, 

Off  kjmdly  riht  nature  disposith  it  so. 

And  in  a  while  it  folwith  in  certeyn, 

To  the  mateer  which  that  he  cam  fro,  3392 

He  muste  oflF  keende  resorte  ageyn  therto. 

And  who  cannat  the  menyng  cleerli  see, 

He  off  this  serpent  shal  deuoured  be. 

Which  Edippus,  ful  so[b]re  in  his  entent,  3396  ^swe^'r'ed 

Nat  to  rakell  nor  hasti  ofF  language,  "^''i?  8^'  '^''- 

T>         •       1  •      1  •    I  o       o    '  cretion. 

But  m  his  herte  with  gret  auisement. 

And  ful  demur  off  look  &  [of]  visage, 

Considred*  ferst  this  p^reilous  fell  passage,  3400 

Sauh  weel  tofom*  that  it  was  no  iape. 

And  ful  prouyded  that  no  woord  escape. 

At  good  leiser  with  hool  mynde  &  memory,  [p.  43] 

Seyng  the  ernest  ofF  this  mortal  emprise,  3404  i7^"^id^' 

His  lifF  dependyng  a-twen  deth  and  victory, 

"  This  beeste,"  quod  he,  "  pleynli  to  deuise. 

Is  first  a  child,  which  may  nat  suffise. 

Whan  it  is  born,  the  trouthe  is  alday  seene,  3408 

Withouten  helpe  hymseluen  to  susteene. 

3375.  forbi]  furth  bi  R. 

3377.  erst]  arst  R. 

3386.  &]  or   R  —  he]  it  R. 

3389.  efft]  aftir  R. 

3390.  OffjAlsoR  — riht]rithR. 
3397.  nor]  orto  R. 

3400.  Considred]  Considreth  B,  R  3. 

3401.  Sauh]  Seeth  R,  si3e  J  —  tofom]  beforn  B,  R  3. 
3405.   bitwene  R. 


who  grows  to 
be  a  man. 

When  age 
comes  he  uses 
a  8ta£F 

and  finally  re- 
turns with  four 
feet  to  the 
earth  from 
which  he 

There  is  no 
defence  against 
nature.     Who 
climbs  highest 
has  the  lowest 

The  Riddle  of  the  Sphinx  [|bk.  i 

Afftir  on  foure  he  naturali  doth  kreepe, 

For  inpotence  and  greene  tendirnesse, 

Norices  can  telle  that*  doon  hem  keepe.  3412 

But  afFtirward,  vp  he  doth  hym  dresse 

With  his  too  feet;  the  thridde  to  expresse, 

Is  hand  or  bench  or  support  off  sum  wall 

To  holde  hym  vp,  list  he  cachche  a  fall.  3416 

And  afFtirward  encresyng  off  his  myht, 

To  gretter  age  whan  he  doth  atteyne, 

Off  his  nature  thanwe  he  goth  vpriht, 

Mihtili  vpon  his  leggis  tweyne.  3420 

Thanne  kometh  age  his  power  to  restreyne, 

Crokid  and  lame,  lik  as  men  may  see. 

With  staff  or  potent  to  make  up  leggis  thre. 

But  whan  feeblesse  or  siknesse  doon  assaile,  3424 

On  feet  and  handis  he  must  bowe  &  loute; 

For  crossid  potentis  may  nat  thanwe  auaile, 

Whan  lusti  age  is  banshed  &  shet  oute. 

Thawne  efFt  ageyn,  heerofF  may  be  no  doute,        3428 

With  foure  feet  terthe  he  doth  retourne 

Fro  whens  he  cam,  ther  stille  to  soiourne." 

Al  cam  from  erthe,  and  [al]  to  erthe  shall; 

Ageyn  nature  is  no  protecciouw;  3432 

Worldli  estatis  echon  thei  be  mortall, 

Ther  may  no  tresor  make  redempciouw. 

Who  clymbeth  hiest,  his  fal  is  lowest  douw; 

A  mene  estat  is  best,  who  koude  it  knowe,  3436 

Tween  hih  presumyng  &  bowywg  douw  to  lowe. 

For  who  sit  hiest,  stant  in  iupartie, 

Vndir  daunger  ofF  Fortune  lik  to  fall: 

MyscheefF  and  pouert  as  for  ther  partie,  3440 

Be  lowest  brouht  among  these  peeplis  all. 

Summe  folk  han  sugir,  summe  taste  gall; 

Salamon  therfore,  merour  ofF  sapience, 

Tween  gret  richesse  and  atween  indigence  3444 

3412,  that]  which  that  B.         3418.   gretter]  gret  R. 

3420.  Mihtili]  Mihtly  R.         3423.   a  staff  R. 

3424.  feblenesse  R.         3425.   hondis  &  feet  R. 

3426.  crossid]  crossis  R,  J.         3429.   foure]  faire  R. 

3431.  2nd  al]  ow.  H.       3432.   is]  may  be  R,  J. 

3435.  lowest]  ferthest  H,  farthest  R  3,  fardest  P  —  his]  is  R. 

3437.  Tween]  Betwene  R.       3438.    For]  Or  R. 

3439.  of  Fortune  is  repeated  in  R.     3442.   folkes  R. 

3443.  therfore]  ther  of  H.  3444-   Tween]  Bitwene  R  — 

richesse]  richessis  R  —  atween]  bitwene  R. 

BK.  l] 

The  Misfortunes  of  CEdipus 


Axed  a  mene  callid  suffisaunce, 
To  holde  hym  content  off  competent  dispence, 
Nat  to  reioishe  off  to  gret  habundaunce, 
And  ay  in  pouert  to  sende  hym  pacience, 
Sobre  with  his  plente,  in  scarsete  noon  offence 
As  off  gruchchyng,  but  atwen  ioie  and  smert 
Thanke  God  off  all,  and  euer  be  glad  off  hert. 

Erthe  is  the  eende  off  eueri  maner  man; 

For  the  riche  with  gret  possessioun 

Deieth  as  soone,  as  I  reherse  can, 

As  doth  the  poore  in  tribulacioun: 

For  deth  ne  maketh  no  dyuisioun 

Bi  synguler  fauour,  but  twen  bothe  iliche, 

Off  the  porest  and  hym  that  is  most  riche. 

This  seid  problem  concludith  in  this  cas, 

Which  the  serpent  gan  sleihtili  purpose, 

That  whan  a  child  is  first  born,  alias, 

Kynde  to  his  dethward  anon  doth  hym  dispose; 

Ech  day  a  iourne;  ther  is  noon  other  glose; 

Experience  can  teche  in  eueri  age, 

How  this  world  heer  is  but  a  pilgrymage. 

This  said  Edippus,  first  in  Thebes  born, 

Sent  to  a  forest  deuoured  for  to  be, 

Founde  &  brouht  foorth,  as  ye  han  herd  toforn. 

And  afftir*,  drawyng  hom  to  his  contre, 

Slouh  his  fader,  so  infortunat  was  he 

Off  froward  happis  folwynge  al  his  lyue. 

As  this  tragedie  his  fortune  shal  descryue. 

But  for  that  he  thoruh  his  hih  prudence 
Onto  the  serpent  declared  euerideel. 
He  slouh  hym  afftir  be  myhti  violence, 
Mor  bi  wisdam  than  armure  maad  off  steel,  — 
Stace  off  Thebes  can  telle  you  ful  weel,  — 

Therefore,  as 
Solomon  said, 
it  is  best  to  be 
neither  too 
poor  nor  too 

for  the  end  of 
all  is  earth, 
and  Death 
shews  favour 
to  no  man. 






CEdipus  was 
3468    during   all    his 

The  moment  a 
child  is  bom  he 
sets  forth  on  a 
pilgrimage  to- 
wards death. 



After  he  slew 
the  Sphinx, 

3446.  dispence^  expence  R. 

341J.9.  scarsetej  scarsnesse  R,  J,  scarcenes  P,  scarsenes  H  5  — 

in]  om.  H  5. 

3450.  but  atwen]  both  betwene  R. 

3457.  twen]  betwene  R.       3458.   and]  &  off  R. 

3459.  condudid  R. 

3460.  began  R  —  sleihtili] sleihty  to  R.      3463.  glose]  chose  R. 
3464.  can]  gan  R.       3466.   said]  om.  H. 

3469.  afftir]  afftirward  B,  H,  R  3. 

3472.  shal]  doth  H,  can  R  3.       3475.   myhti]  knyhtly  R. 

3476.  than  armure,  etc.]  than  of  armure  &  of  Steele  R. 

96  CEdipus  marries  his  Mother,  Jocasta  \byl.  i 

Which  was  o  cause,  yiff  ye  list  to  seen, 
Wherthoruh  Edippus  weddid  hath  the  queen 

he  took  his       Callid  locasta,  pryncesse  off  that  cite,  3480 

to°wjfe!    ""^'  His  owne  mooder,  onknowe  to  hem  bothe. 
And  thouh  she  were  riht  fair  vpon  to  see, 
With  this  manage  the  goddis  were  ful  wrothe; 
For  ther  alliaunce  nature  gan  to  lothe,  3484 

That  a  mooder,  as  ye  shal  vndirstonde, 
Sholde  take  hir  sone  to  been  hir  husbonde. 

encToflhe'sfars'  There  was  theryn  no  convenyence,  [p.  44] 

t^e'cl'u^^or"  To  be  supportid  be  kynde  nor  be  resouw,  3488 

this  unnatural    But  yiff  SO  be  the  heueuH  influence 


Disposid  it  be  thyclynacioun 
Off  sum  fals  froward  constellacioun, 
.   Causid  bi  Saturne,  or  Mars  the  froward  sterre,     3492 
Tengendre  debat  or  sum  mortal  werre. 

In  this  mateer,  pleyn[H]  thus  I  deeme 

Off  no  cunnyng  but  off  opynyoun: 

Thouh  he  wer  crownyd  with  sceptr<?  &  diademe   3496 

To  regne  in  Thebes  the  stronge  myhti  touw. 

That  sum  aspect  cam  from  heuene  douw, 

Infortunat,  froward  and  ful  off  rage. 

Which  ageyn  kynde  deyned  this  mariage.  3500 

Two  sons  were  fJc  crowuyd  was  basseut  off  al  the  touw, 

born  to  them,      _,,  ,  ~. 

Eteocies  and      T  loutyug  a  seson  bc  souereynte  ott  pes; 
two^ daughters,  Aud  whil  he  heeld[e]  theer  possessioun, 
fsmlr'  ""^    Sones  &  douhtres  he  hadde  dout[e]les:  3504 

The  firste  sone  callid  Ethiocles, 
Pollynyces  callid  was  the  tothir, 
As  seith  Bochas,  the  seconde  brothir. 

Also  he  hadde  goodli  douhtren  tweyne,  3508 

The  eldest  callid  was  Antigone, 

And  the  seconde  named  was  Ymeyne; 

Bothe  thei  wern  riht  fair  vpon  to  see: 

The  queen  locasta  myhte  no  gladdere  be,  3512 

3481.  vnknawen  R.      3483.  this]  his  H. 

3487.  no]  none  R.      3488.   nor]  no  R. 

3489.  so]  it  so  R  —  the]  that  R.       3490.   Dispose  R. 

3494.  pleyn  R.       3500.   deyned]  denyed  H  5,  disposid  P. 

3503.  theer]  the  R. 

3506.  Pollicynes  R,  Polymyces  H  —  was  callid  H. 

3510.  And]  om.  R. 

35 1 1.  Bothe]  And  both  R  —  riht  fair]  om.  R  —  vpon]  on  R. 

BK.  l] 

Fortune  eclipses  all  Glory 


Than  to  remembre,  whan  thei  wex  in  age. 
How  goddis  hadde  encreced  her  lynage. 

It  was  hir  ioie  and  hir  fehcite 

To  seen  hir  childre,  that  were  so  inli  faire:  3516 

But  ofFte  in  ioie  ther  cometh  aduersite, 

And  hope  onsured  whanhope  doth  ofte  appaire; 

Contrarious  trust  will  gladli  ther  repaire 

Wher  fals[e]  wenyng  in  hertis  is  conceyued  3520 

Thoruh  ignorauTice,  which  fele  folk*  hath  deceyued. 

What  thyng  in  erthe  is  more  deceyuable. 

Than  whan  a  man  supposith  verraily 

In  prosperite  for  to  stonde  stable, 

And  from  his  ioie  is  remeued  sodenly  ? 

For  wher  Fortune  is  founde  to  hasty 

To  trise  folk,  is  greuous  to  endure, 

For  sodeyn  chaungis  been  hatful  to  nature. 

Vnwar  wo  that  cometh  on  gladnesse, 
Is  onto  hertis  riht  passyng  encombrous; 
And  who  hath  felt  his  part  off  welfulnesse, 
Sorwe  suynge  oon  is  to  hym  odious. 
And  werst  off  all  and  most  contrarious. 
Is  whan  estatis,  hiest  off  renoun, 
Been  from  ther  noblesse  sodenli  put  doun. 

There  is  no  glory  which  that  shyneth  heer, 
That  fals  Fortune  can  so  magnefie; 
But  whan  his  laude  brihtest  is  and  cleer. 
She  can  eclipse  it  with  sum  cloudy  skie 
OflF  vnwar  sorwe,  onli  ofF  envie. 
Seeth  off  Edippus  an  open  euydence. 
Which  bi  his  lyue  hadde  experience 

OflF  hih  noblesse,  and  therwith  also 
Part  inportable  off  gret  aduersite. 
Is  ioie  ay  meynt  with  ful  mortal  wo: 
For  whil  he  regned  in  Thebes  his  cite. 

in  her 

but  what 
thing  it  more 
3524    Fortune? 


The  greatest 
sorrow  is 
that  which 
after  joy. 



There  is 
no  glory- 
that  Fortune 
cannot  eclipse. 



3514.  How]  Heer  R. 

3516.  children  R. 

3518.  whanhope,  separaud  into  Uvo  words  in  J,  R  3,  P;   whan  in 
whanhope  is  corrected  to  wan,  R,  whanne  H  5  —  doth]  om.  J. 

3519.  will]  wol  H.      3520.   hert  R.      3521.   folk  fele  B. 
3527.  trise]  tryuse  H.       353 1.   wilfulnesse  R. 

3535.  put]  brouht  R.       3542.  Which]  Whilk  H. 

3S4S-  ay]  tuer  R.  3546.   his]  the  R. 


The  Prophecy  of  Tiresias 

[bk.  I 

which  brought 
the  people  in 

The  land  was    And  locEsta,  With  ful  grct  royalte, 
penHence^  ^      Withynnc  the  centre  ther  fill  a  pestilence,  3548 

The  peeple  infectyng  with  his  violence 

Thoruh  al  the  land  and  al  the  regioun 

In  eueri  age;  but  most  greuousli 

On  hem  echon  that  were[n]  off  the  touw  3552 

Thenfeccioun  spradde  most  speciali. 

And  ofF  vengauwce  the  suerd  most  rigerousli 

Day  be  day  [be]gan  to  bite  and  kerue, 

OfF  ech  estat  causyng  folk  to  sterue.  3556 

Thus  gan  encrece  the  mortalite, 

That  eueri  man  stood  in  iupartie 

OfF  ther  lyues  thoruhout  the  contre, 

So  inportable  was  ther  maladie.  3560 

Men  myhte  heer  the  peeple  clepe  &  crie, 

Disespeired  so  were  thei  ofF  ther  lyues. 

Void  ofF  al  socour  and  ofF  preseruatyues, 

They  asked  the  Thei  souhte  out  hctbes  &  spices  in  ther  cofFres,    3564 
divinert  Jhy"  And  gan  to  seeke  for  helpe  and  for  socours, 
pumsiTed^." '°     The  cause  enqueryng  ofF  prudent  philisophres 

And  ofF  ther  moste  expert  dyuynours,  — 

Whi  that  the  goddis  with  so  sharpe  shours  3568 

OfF  pestilence,  and  in  so  cruel  wise, 

List  hem,  alias,  so  mortali  chastise  ? 

But  among  alle,  in  soth  this  is*  the  cas,  [p.  45] 

Ther  was  founde  oon  ful  prudent  and  riht  wis,     3572 

A  prophete  callid  Tiresias, 

OfF  prophesie  hauyng  a  souereyn  pris. 

Which  that  afFermed  and  seide  in  his  auys,  — 

As  onto  hym  was  shewid  be  myracle,  3576 

Phebus  hymselfF  declaryng  the  oracle,  — • 

None  could 
answer  save 

Th'^a't  the^peslu  Causc  off  this  sikncsse  and  these  maladies, 
lence  would  in-  j^g  i\^q  goddis  plcynli  ban  disposid, 

crease  until  a  ini  -i*       !•  ^• 

king,  who  slew  And  Scnck  writ  eek  in  his  tragedies, 

his  father  and     rr^,  .       ,  ,  j   •    1       •  j 

married  his        1  houh  the  cause  be  secre  and  iclosid, 
Xo"uW  °be "e-    Onto  the  tyme  ther  be  a  kyng  deposid. 


3549.  enfectynge  R. 

3555.  began]  gan  H,  R.       3557-   bigan  to  encrese  R. 

3561.  That  men  myhten  R.       3562.    Dispeired  R. 

3563.  2nd  ofF  3  ofF  ther  R.       3565.    bi  gan  R. 

3571.  in  soth  this  is]  sothli  this  B,  H.       3572.   riht]  ow.  R. 

3578.  these]of  this  R.       3580.   eek]  also  R.       3581.   secret  R. 

BK.  i]  The  Sorrow  of  (Edipus  and  Jocasta  99 

Which  slouh  his  fader  &  reffte  hym  off  his  liff, 

And  hath  eek  take  his  mooder  to  his  wifF,  3584 

Til  this  be  doon  and  execut  in  deede, 

Ther  may  be  maad[e]  no  redempcioun; 

But  pestilence  shal  multeplie  &  spreede 

Ay  mor  and  mor  thoruhout  that  regioun,  3588 

Til  onto  tyme  that  he  be  put  doun 

From  his  crowne,  —  which  nat  longe  a-goon 

His  fader  slouh  among  his  mortal  foon, 

And  hath  his  mooder  weddid  eek  also,  3592 

A-geyn[e]s  lawe  and  a-geyn  al  riht. 

Til  that  vengaunce  vpon  this  crym  be  do, 

Ther  shal  be  werre,  pestilence  and  fiht, 

Sorwe  and*  gret  strilF,  and  euery  maner  wiht       3596 

Off  vengaunce  his  neyh[e]bour  shal  hate; 

Brother  with  brother,  &  blood  with  blood  debate. 

This  al  and  sum;   ther  may  be  no  socour.  S'n"^^'* 

Which  brouht  the  peeple  in  ful  gret  heuynesse,    3600  beiieye  thit 

r->        '-r>-         '11  Tiresias 

For  Tiresia  the  grete  dyuynour,  meant 

Bi  prophecie  tolde  hem  thus  expresse.  ''""'  °^' 

And  atte  laste,  bi  toknys  and  witnesse, 

Men  vndirstood  be  signes  out  shewyng,  3604 

This  pestilence  was  brouht  in  bi  the  kyng. 

And  thouh  the  peeple  [ne]  gafF  no  credence 

To  Tiresia,  nor  to  his  prophesie. 

The  queen  locasta  cauhte  an  euidence,  3608  {^j^^^ 

And  in  hir  herte  a  ful  gret  fantasie,  tfaetmth. 

Speciali  whan  she  dede  espie 

Off  kyng  Edippus  the  feet  whan  she  sauh  woundid. 

How  this  rumour  was  vpon  trouthe  [I]groundid:   3612 

Because  also  there  was  a  dyuynour 

Which  tolde  alForn  Edippus  sholde  be 

To  Layus  in  Thebes  successour. 

Wherbi  the  kyng,  the  queen,  and  the  cite  3616  s^j^.^-i 

Fill  in  gret  trouble  and  gret  aduersite,  —  were  greatly 

Weel  more  than  I  be  writyng  can  reporte, 

For  ther  was  nothyng  that  myhte  hem  reconforte. 

3588.  Ay]  Euer  R,  J.       3589.   onto]  vnto  the  R. 

3592.  eek]  om.  R,  J.       3594-   this]  that  R. 

3596.  1st  and  is  crossed  out  B.  3600.    ful]  om.  R. 

3604.  be]  and  R.     3606.   ne]  om.  H,  P,  R  3.     3607.   nor]  no  R. 

361 1,  sauh]  se  R,  sey  H.       3612.   groundid  H,  R. 

3614.  afFom]  to  fom  R.  3615.   Thebes]  thes  R. 

3617.  and]  and  in  R.  3619.   reconforte]  comfort  H. 


(Edipus  in  Despair 

[bk.  I 

The  king 
cast  away 
his  crown 
and  tore  out  his 
eyes  and  cried 
day  and  night 
for  death. 

What  grieved 
him  most  was 
that  his  sons 
hated  him, 

so  he  prayed 
the  gods  that 
Polynices  and 
Eteocles  might 
bring  one  an- 
other to  de- 

Ful  ofte  a-day  locasta  gan  to  swowne,  3620 

Kyng  Edippus  sobbe,  crie  and  weepe, 
In  salt[e]  teris  as  they  wolde  hem  drowne, 
Deth  craumpisshyng  into  ther  brest  gan  creepe, 
A-day  compleynyng,  a-nyht  they  may  nat  sleepe,  3624 
Cursyng  the  hour  off  ther  natyuyte, 
That  thei  sholde  a-bide  for  to  see 

Ther  mortal  chauws,  ther  dedli  auenture, 

Ther  fortune  also*,  which  gan  on  hem  frowne,      3628 

Inpacient  and  doolful  to  endure, 

Ther  froward  fate  with  hir  lookis  browne. 

The  kyng  for  ire  cast  a-wey  his  crowne, 

And  gan  tarace,  for  constreynt  off  his  peyne,        3632 

Out  off  his  hed  his  woful  eyen  tweyne. 

Day  and  nyht  he  cried  afftir  deth. 

Hatful  to  come*  in  any  manys  siht. 

Most  desirous  to  yelden  vp  the  breth,  3636 

Woful  in  herte  to  come  in  any  liht, 

Croked  for  sorwe,  feeble  to  stonde  vpriht; 

And  speciali  in  his  dedli  distresse, 

For  dreed  &  shame  he  dared  in  derknesse.  3640 

The  cruel  constreynt  off  his  most  greuauwce 

Was  that  his  sonys  hadde  hym  in  despiht, 

Which  gan  his  sorwe  gretli  to  auaunce, 

For  hym  to  scorne  was  set  al  ther  deliht;  3644 

Was  neuer  [man]  that  stood  in  a  wers  pliht. 

For  thus  liggyng  and  destitut  off  cheer, 

Onto  the  goddis  he  made  this  praier, 

Besechyng  hem  with  a  ful  doolful  herte  3648 

Vpon  his  wo  to  haue*  compassioun. 

And  that  thei  wolde,  for  tauenge  his  smerte, 

Atween  his  sonys  make  a  dyuysioun, 

Ech  to  brynge  other  to  destruccioun:  3652 

This  was  his  praier  pleynli  in  substauwce, 

That  ech  on  other  take  may  vengaunce 

3620.  a-day3  in  the  day  R.         3623.    brestl  hert  R. 

3624.  nat]  noth  R.  3625.   Cursyng]  Outraynge  R. 

3628.  also]  eek  B,  H  —  gan]  did  R.      3630.   lookis]  lokkis  R. 

3632.  be  gan  R.      3635.   come]  comen  B,  J,  comon  R. 

3638.  Croked]  Corbide  R.      3640.   &]  of  H. 

3642.  hadden  hem  R. 

3645.  man  is  written  between  the  columns  in  a  later  hand  R. 

3646.  thus]  om.  H,  P. 

3649.   to  haue]  ha  sum  B,  haue  sum  J,  haue  some  P. 
3653.   pleynli]  om.  R.       3654.   may  take  R. 

BK.  l] 

The  Enmity  of  Polynices  and  Euocles 


^6^6    His  prayer  wi J 


The  brother* 
became  mortal 

In  yeeris  fewe  for  ther  onkynd[e]nesse.  [p.  46] 

Thei  herd  his  praier,  as  ye  han  herd  deuyse; 

The  brethre  too,  thoruh  ther  cursidnesse, 

Euerich  gan  other  mortali  despise, 

For  lak  off  grace  and  for  fals  couetise, 

Ech  for  his  parti  desirous  in  deede 

Tofom  other  to  regne  and  [to]  succeede. 

And  thus  this  brethre*  most  infortunat, 

A-tween  hemsilfF  fill  at  discencioun; 

And  fynali  this  vnkynde[ly]  debat  3664 

Brouht  al  Thebes  onto  destruccioun: 

Yit  was  ther  first  maad  a  convencioun, 

Bi  entirchaungyng*  that  ech  sholde  regne  a  yeer, 

The  tother  absent,  go  pleie  &  come  no  neer.  3668      — 

This  was  concludid  bi  ther  bothe  assent 
And  bi  accord  off  al  the  regioun. 
Polynyces  rod  foorth  and  was  absent, 
Ethyocles  took  first  possessioun. 
But  whan  the  yeer  bi  reuolucioun 
Was  come  a-boute,  he,  fals  off  his  entent, 
Onto  thaccord  denved  to  consent. 


This  was  o  cause  off  ther  bothe  stryues, 

Polynyces  thus  put  out  off  his  riht. 

Til  Adrastus,  that  kyng  was*  off  Argyues, 

Which  thoruh  al  Grece  grettest  was  oflF  myht, 

Sente  onto  Thebes  Tideus  a  knyht. 

His  sone-in-lawe,  to  trete  off  this  mateere. 

And  the  cause  fynali  to  lere, 

Whethir  the  kyng  callid  Ethiocles 

Wolde  condescende  off  trouthe  and  off  resoun 

To  stynte  werre  and  to  cherisshe  pes, 

Affter  thaccord  and  composicioun, 

Vp  to  delyuere  Thebes  the  myhti  toun 



Adrastus,  king 
of  Argos,   sect 
Tydeus  to 
Thebes  to  help 


but  without 

3657.  brethem  R. 

3662.  brethre]  breed  B,  brethem  R,  H  5,  Brethir  H. 

3663.  Betwene  R.       3664.   thus  vnkinde  P. 

3666.  made  first  R. 

3667.  Bentirchaungyng  B  —  a  yeer]  eir  R. 

3668.  go]  to  R,  J.  P,  H  5. 

3670.  the]  that  R.       3673.   But]  &  H. 

3675.  consent]  assent  R.       3678.   was  kyng  B. 

3681.  oflGforH. 

3683.  Whethir]  Wher  thoruh  R  —  callid]  om.  R. 

3687.  Vp]  for  H,  om.  P  —  the]  that  P. 

102  The  Fall  of  Thebes  [bk.  i 

Onto  his  brother,  which  absent  was  withoute,       3688 
Now  that  his  yeer  was  fully  come  a-boute. 

But  he  was  fals,  &  frowardli  gan  varie, 

Ethiocles,  from  his  conuenciouw. 
Uga"n 'l''wa""on  ^or  which  Adrastus  no  lenger  wolde  tarie,  3692 

Eteocies  in  aid  Whan  Tideus  hadde  maad  relacioun: 

of  rolynices,  .    ' 

who  had  be-      gut  callid  auoou  thfouhout  his  regioun 
in-ia.v.      ''      AUe  worthi,  bothe  nyh  and  ferre, 

A-geyn[es]  Thebes  for  to  gynne  a  werre.  3696 

For  this  cause,  lich  as  ye  shal  lere, 

Polynyces,  to  forsen  his  partie, 

I-weddid  hadde  the  kyngis  doubter  deere, 

I  meene  Adrastus,  flour  of  cheualrie,  3700 

Whan  Tideus  dede  hym  certefie 

Touchyng  the  answere  off  Ethiocles, 

And  off  his  trouthe  how  he  was  rech[e]les, 

Fals  off  his  promys  &  cursidli  forsworn;  3704 

th°e''v,"oie''8t'!)ry  ^^^  ^o  his  trouthe  noon  aduertence  had  he, 
Thebet^'*^^  "^  ^^^  *°  thaccord  that  was  maad  beforn 

Touchyng  delyuerauwce  off  Thebes  the  cite. 

But  who  that  list  this  story  cleerli  see  3708 

Off  these  too  brethre  &  ther  discenciouw, 

And  how  Adrastus  lay  tofor  the  touw, 

And  Tideus,  thoruh  his  hih  prowesse, 

Fauht  hi  the  way[e]  goyng  on  message,  3712 

And  how  off"  Grece  al  the  worthynesse 

With  kyng  Adrastus  wente  in  this  viage, 

And  off^  the  myschefi^  that  fill  in  ther  passage 

For  lak  of  water,  til  that  Ysiphile,  3716 

Norice  of  Ligurgus,  so  fair  vpon  to  see, 

Tauhte  Tideus  to  fynde  out  a  ryueer, 

(She  that  dede  in  fairnesse  so  excell,) 

Nor  how  the  serpent,  most  ougli  off^  his  cheer,      3720 

Off"  kyng  Ligurgus  the  child  slow  at  a  well. 

Nor  how  Amphiorax  fill  a-doun  to  hell,  — 

3695.  AUe]  All  the  R.       3696.   begynne  R. 

3698.  Pollycynes  R.       3706.   beforn]  to  forne  H. 

3707.  the  delyu^raunce  R.       3709.   brethern  R. 

3714.  this]  his  R. 

3720.  Nor]  Ney^T  R.      3721.   a]  the  R. 

3722.  Nor]  Neithir  R. 

BK.  l] 

The  End  of  Polynices  and  Eteocles 

Al  to  declare,  me  semeth  it  is  no  neede, 
[For]  in  the  siege  of  Thebes  ye  may  it  reede, 

The  stori  hool,  and  maad  ther  mencioun 

Off  other  parti,  ther  puissaunce  &  ther  myht, 

And  how  Adrastus  lay  tofom  the  toun. 

And  how  thei  metten  eueri  day  in  fiht. 

And  Tideus,  the  noble  famous  knyht 

So  renommed  in  actis  marciall. 

Was  slayn,  alias,  as  he  fauht  on  the  wall. 

And  how  the  brethre  mette  a-mong  the  pres, 
Lich  too  tigres  or  leouns  that  were  wood. 
With  sharp[e]  speris;  this  is  dout[e]les, 
Euerich  off  hem  shadde  other[s]  herte*  blood: 
This  was  ther  fyn,  &  thus  with  hem  it  stood, 
Sauf  at  ther  festis  callid  funerall, 
Ther  fill  a  merueile  which  reherse  I  shall. 





[p.  47] 

W^han  thei  were  brent  into  asshes  dede, 

OflF  ther  envie  there  fill  a  [ful]  gret  wonder 

A-mong  the  brondes  and  the  coles  rede, 

Hih  in  the  hair  the  smokes  wente  assonder. 

The  ton  [to]  00  parti  and  the  tother  yonder, 

To  declare,  the  story  list  nat  feyne,  3744 

The  grete  hatrede  that  was  atwen  hem  tweyne. 

Thus  for  ther  ire  and  fals  discencioun, 

Alle  the  lordis  and  al  the  cheualrie 

Were  slayn  off  Grece  and  also  off  the  toun.  3748 

And  roote  off  all,  myn  auctour  list  nat  lie, 

Was  fals  alliaunce  and  fraternal  envie; 

And  cheefF  ground,  with  al  the  surplusage, 

Who  serche  a-riht,  was  onkyndli  mariage.  3752 

The  queen  locasta  felte  hir  part  off  peyne 
To  seen  hir  childre  ech  off  hem  slen  other, 
Hir  sone  hir  lord,  blynd  on  his  eyen  tweyne. 
Which  to  his  sonys  was  fader  &  eek  brother:         3756 
Fortune  wolde  it  sholde  be  noon  other, 

3723.  semeth  it  is3  sempte  it  was  R. 

3714-  For]  om.  H,  R  3  —  the]  thes  R  —  it]  om.  R. 

3726.  other]  eithir  R  —  pouyschaunce  R. 

3732.  brethem  mettjTi  R.       3735-   herte]  hertis  B. 

3740.  ful]  om.  H.       3743.   to]  om.  H,  on  R  3. 

3745.  betwene  R.       3746.   ther]  om.  R  —  fals]  for  fals  H. 

3752.  serche]  seche  H  —  serche  a-riht]  sekith  right  R  3. 

3753.  part]  peyne  R.       3754.   children  R. 
3756.  eek]  also  R. 


So  there  is  no 
need  of  my 
telling  it  here. 

Tydeus  was 

the  two 

brothers  killed 
one  another. 

and  on  their 
funeral  pyre 
the  smokes 
parted  in 

The  root  of  all 
this  trouble  was 
unnatural  mar- 

weighed  down 
with  grief. 


The  Death  of  Jocasta 

[bk.  I 

dew  herself 
with  CEdipus' 

Eek  Parkas  sustre,  which  been  in  noumbre  thre, 
Span  so  the  threed  at  ther  natyuyte. 

Eek  whan  locasta  stood  thus  disconsolat,  3760 

And  sauh  off  Thebes  the  subuersioun, 

The  centre  stroied,  wast  and  desolat, 

The  gentil  blood  shad  off  that  regiouw, 

Withoute  confort  or  consolaciouw,  3764 

Thouhte  she  myhte  be  no  mor  appeired; 

But  off  al  hope  fuUi  disespeired, 

Trist  and  heuy,  pensifF  &  spak  no  woord, 

Hir  sorwes  olde  &  newe  she  gan  aduerte,  3768 

Took  the  swerd  off  hym  that  was  hir  lord, 

With  which  Edippus  smot  Layus  to  the  herte, 

She  to  fynisshe  all  hir  peynes  smerte, 

And  fro  the  bodi  hir  soule  to  deuyde,  3772 

RofF  hir-selfF[e]  thoruhout  eueri  side. 

She  weri  was  off  hir  woful  lifF, 

Seyng  off  Fortune  the  gret[e]  frowardnesse, 

How  hir  diffame  &  sclandre  was  so  riff,  3776 

And  off  Edippus  the  gret[e]  wrechidnesse, 

Eek  off  hir  sones  the  gret  onkynd[e]nesse: 

Alle  these  thyngis  weied  on  hir  so  sore. 

For  distresse  that  she  list  lyue  no  more.  3780 

Bochas  writith,  the  flour  off  hir  fairnesse, 

Constreynt  off  sorwe  causid  it  to  fade; 

The  famous  liht  also*  off  hir  noblesse 

And  al  the  cleernesse  off  hir  daies  glade  3784 

With  vnwar  harmys  was  so  ouerlade, 

Off  verrai  angwissh,  that  she  hirselff  dede  hate, 

So  inli  contrari  [disposid]  was  hir  fate. 

Death  takes  no  Thus  deth  devouteth  with  his  bittir  gall  3788 

heed  of  high        T    •  J  J  •  J       fr     1 

or  low  estate,    loie  and  sorwc,  deuoid  oit  ai  mercy; 

And  with  his  darte  he  maketh  doun  to  fall 

Sorrow  caused 
her  beauty  to 

3758.  Eek]  Also  R  —  sustren  H. 

3759.  the]  ther  H.       3760.    Eek]  Also  R. 

3761.  sauh]  sihe  R.       3762.   stroied]  distrled  R. 

3764.  comfort  H. 

3768.  Hir]  His  R  —  newe]  ner  R.       3773-   eueri]  eithir  R. 

3778.  Eek]  Also  R.       3783.    also]  eek  B,  eke  R  3,  P,  H. 

3784.  hir]  his  R.       3785.   sche  was  R. 

3787.  disposid]  om.  H  —  hir]  to  hir  H.       3788.    his]  hir  H. 

3789.  deuoid]  auoyde  R.       3790.    his]  hir  H  —  he]  she  H. 

BK.  l] 

(Edipus  finally  exiled  by  Creon 


Riche  and  poore,  hem  markyng  sodenly: 
His  vnwar  strook  smyt[eth]  indifferently. 
From  hym  refusyng  fauour  &  al  meede, 
Off  all  estatis  he  takith  so  litil  heede. 


Bet  is  to  deie  than  lyue  in  wrechidnesse, 

Bet  is  to  deie  than  euer  endure  peyne, 

Bet  is  an  eende  than  dedli  heuynesse, 

Bet  is  to  deie  than  euer  in  wo  compleyne; 

And  where-as  myscheeff  doth  at  folk  disdeyne 

Bi  woful  constreynt  off  long  contynuaunce,  3800 

Bet  is  to  deie  than  lyue  in  such  greuaunce. 

Taketh  exauwple  heeroff  and  a  preeff 

Off  kyng  Edippus,  that  was  so  longe  a-go, 

Off  queen  locasta,  that  felte  so  gret  myscheeff,    3804 

And  off  ther  childre  remembrith  eek  also. 

Which  euer  lyued  in  envie,  sorwe*  &  wo: 

Fortune,  alias,  duryng  al  ther  daies 

Was  founde  so  froward  to  hem  at  all  assaies.        3808 

Touchyng  Edippus  processe  fynde  I  noon 

What  eende  he  made  in  conclusioun, 

Sauf  Bochas  writith,  how  the  kyng  Creon, 

Cosyn  and  heir  bi  successioun,  3812 

Exilid  hym  cheyned  ferr  out  off  the  toun, 

Where  he  endured  in  myscheeff,  sorwe  &  dreed. 

Till  Antropos  ontwynid  his  lyuis  threed. 

But  it  is  better 
to  die  than  live 
3796     in  misery. 

Creon  exiled 
CEdipus,  and  I 
cannot  say  how 
he  died. 

CI  Lenvoye. 

IN  this  tragedie  foure  thinges  ye  may  see. 
The  pride  off  labyn  &  fals  pr<»su?npcioun. 
Off  queen  locasta  the  gret  aduersite. 
Off  kyng  Edippus  thynclynacioun 
To  vices  all,  and  the  deuysioun 
Off  the  too  brethre,  pleynli  vs  tassure, 
K)mgdamys  deuyded  may  no  while  endure. 


1 5    Kingdoms  dis- 
tracted  by   in- 
ternal strife 
cannot  endure. 


3791.  markyng]  makynge  R.  3792.  His]  hir  H  —  smyteth] 
smyt  MSS.  exupt  P,  H  5.  3793.  hym]  hir  H.  3794.  he] 
she  H, 

3795-8,  3801,   R,  P,  H  5  wrtU  Bettir  or  Better  insUad  of  Bet. 

3796.  endure]  tendur^  H,  to  liff  (Hue)  in  R,  P,  H  5,  lyue  in  J, 
to  suffre  R  3.       3799.   at]  al  R. 

3805.  remembrith  eek]  remembre  R. 

3806.  lyued  in  envie  sorwe]  lyueden  in  sorwe  envie  B,  H  — 
lyuede  eu^r  R  3. 

3813.  hym]  om.  H      3814.    in]  om.  R.      3816.   foure]  thre  R. 

lo6  Atreus  and  his  Brother  Thyestes  [|bk.  I 

lOmneRegnum  Yov  who  sauh  cucF  kvnedam  or  centre  fp.  4.8I 

desoiabiturji     btondc  in  quycct  off  thcr  possessioun,  3824 

But  yifF  ther  wer  pes,  riht  and  equyte 
be^"ea^"and     ^^'^  ^"st  accord,  withoute  discenclouw, 
justice.  Void  oflF  ontrouthe  and  fals  collusioun, 

Pleynli  declaryng  bexaumple  &  bi  scripture,  3828 

Kyngdamys  deuyded  may  no  while  endure. 

by  'thfeMmpie  Seeth  hecr  exaumple  off  Thebes  the  cite, 

of  Thebes.        ^j^^  }^ow  that  noble  myhti  regiouw, 

Thoruh  ther*  froward  [fals]  duplicite  3832 

With  werre  brouht  to  ther  destrucciouw; 
Ther  promys  brokyn,  and  ther  couert  tresoun, 
Shewed  bi  the[r]  harmys,  impossible  to  recure, 
Kyngdamys  deuyded  may  no  while  endure.  3836 

Princes  and       Pryncis,  Pryncessis,  which  ban  the  souereywte 
cherish  yo'ur      Oucr  thc  peeple  and  domynaciouw, 

subjects  if  you    -trTr  ^•        i  i  •       r  ^•    • 

would  reign       Yirt  ye  list  iyue  longe  m  lelicite, 

°"*'  Cherisshith  your  subiectis,  doth  noon  extorsiouw,  3840 

And  aduertisith  off  wisdam  and  resoun, 
As  this  tragedie  doth  to  you  discure, 
Kyngdamys  deuyded  may  no  while  endure. 

[How  Atreus  Kyng  of  Messene  wrou3t  ayenst  his 
brothir  Thiestes  /  slouh  his  iij.  childre  dis- 
membrid  hem  in  pecys  made  Thiestes  to  ete  of 
ther  fiessh  and  drynke  of  ther  blood.]]  ^ 

Bochas  was       T)  OCHAS  the  poete,  auctOMr  off  this  book,        3844 

preparing  to  ""^  "^  7  o  tt 


write  the  story  J-^   rlym  purposyng  to-gidre  to  compile 

of  Duke  The-      r~\  •  1  •  11 

seus,  Uyuers  stories,  anoon  his  pewne  he  took, 

Hym  remewbryng  withynne  a  litil  while, 
In  this  chapitle  gan  direct*  his  stile  3848 

To  write  the  story,  and  be  compendious, 
Afforn  all  othre  off  Duk  Theseus, 

Lord  off  Athenys,  a  famous  gret  cite, 

Ryht  strong  and  myhti  vpon  eueri  side,  —  3852 

But  at  his  bak  Bochas  dede  oon  see, 

3825.   pes  riht]  rith  pees  R.       3828.   bi  ensaumple  R. 

3830.  ensaumple  R.      3832.  ther]  ther  most  B,  H  —  fals^om.  H. 

3833.   brouht]  weren  brouht  R.       3835.   ther]  the  H. 

3837.   han]  had  R. 

3839.   long  Iyue  J  —  felicite]  prospmte  H.       3842.  As]  al  H. 

3848.   gan]  bigan  R  —  directen  B.      3851.   Athenys]  Asye  H. 

^  MS.  J.  leaf  20  verso. 

BK.  Q 

Atreus  and  Thyestes 

Which  cried  loude  &  bad  he  sholde  a-bide: 
"  Bochas,"  quod  he,  "  fro  the  me  list  nat  hide 
My  woful  cas,  nor  in  no  wise  spare 
My  pitous  compleynt  to  the  to  declare! 

I  am  Thiestes,  be-spreynt  al  with  wepyng, 
Drownyd  in  tens,  as  thou  maist  weel  see, 
Whilom  sone  off  the  myhti  kyng 
Philistynes,  and  bom  also  parde 
Off  queen  Pellopia,  excellyng  off  beute; 
And  for  thou  art  desirous  for  tendite 
Off  peeple  onhappi,  &  ther  wo  to  write, 

My  will  is  this,  that  thou  anon  proceede 
To  tume  thi  stile,  and  tak  thi  penne  blyue, 
Leue*  Theseus,  tak  now  off  hym  non  heede, 
But  my  tragedie  first  that  thou  descr>'ue. 
For  I  suppose  that  in  al  thi  lyue. 
That  thou  sauh  neuer  a  thyng  mor  dolerous, 
Mor  onhappi,  mor  froward  nor  pitous 

Than  is,  alias,  my  mortal  auenture. 
Incomparable,  the  sorwe  surmountyng 
Off  queen  locasta,  most  woful  creature. 
Or  off  Edippus,  his  fate  ay  compleynyng: 
For  my  compleynt  haueth  non  endyng, 
But  lastith  euere,  &  bereth  me  witnesse. 
No  wo  rassemblith  onto  myn  heuynesse." 

And  with  that  woord  John  Bochoj  stille  stood, 

Ful  sobirly  to  yiue  hym  audience; 

And  in  the  place  demeurli  he  a-bod 

To  heere  the  substaunce  off  his  mortal  offence. 

Which  thus  began  to  shewen  his  sentence, 

"  O  lohn,"  quod  he,  "  I  pray  the  take  good  heed 

My  wo  to  write  that  men  may  it  reed. 

Alias!  my  brother,  roote  off  onkynd[e]nesse, 
Attreus  callid,  off  tresoun  sours  &  well, 
And  fyndere  out  off  tresoun  &  falsnesse, 



when  tuddecly 
Thyestes,  soa 
of  Pelops,  ap- 
peared before 
him  and  said, 





Theseus  and  tell 
my  tragedy 
first.    Never 
was  there  one 
more  terrible." 



So  Bochas 

paused  to 
3880    listen. 


"John,"  said 
Thyestes,  "my 
brother  Atreus 
was  a  great 
3888     scoundrel. 

3860.  Whilom])  Sumtyme  R  —  sone]  ^  sone  H. 

3863.  for]  om.  R. 

3865.  that  thou  anon]  anone  at  thou  do  R. 

3867.  Leue]  Leff  B  —  now]  om.  R. 

3868.  that]  at  R.       3870.   sih  R.       3871.   nor]  neithir  R. 
3875.  ay]  euer  R.       3876.   haueth]  hath  R,  H. 

3877.  euere]  om  H. 

3883.  his]  the  R. 


but  I  trusted 
him  as  a 
brother  should. 

I  knew  no 
wrong  in  him. 

There  it  no 
need  of  my 
telling  you 
about  the  great 

Atreus  and  Thyestes  [bk. 

And  all  other  in  fraude  doth  precell, 
Whos  couert  hate  is  more  than  I  can  tell  — 
I  supposyng,  ofF  verray  innocence, 
In  hym  no  malice,  deceit,  nor  offence, 

But  as  a  brother  sholde  his  brother  triste, 

I  trusted  hym  off  herte,  will  &  thouht; 

Bi  apparence  non  othir  cause  I  wiste. 

For  in  his  persone  I  supposid  nouht 

That  euer  he  koude  so  fals  a  thywg  ha  wrouht. 

But  who  may  soner  a-nother  man  deceyue, 

Than  he  in  whom  no  malice  men  conceyue  ? 

I  dempte  off  hym  as  off  my  trewe  brother, 
Wenyng  he  hadde  feithful  been  to  me; 
I  sauh  no  signe,  nor  I  kneuh  non  other, 
In  hym  supposyng  no  duplicite. 
But,  o  alias,  how  myhte  it  euer  be. 
Or  who  dede  euer  in  any  story  fynde 
Blood  onto  blood  to  be  so  onkynde! 

I  will  passe  ouer  to  telle  the  worthynesse, 
Touchyng  thestatis  off  our  progenytours, 





[p.  49] 

torth  and  ^nT  Off  our  kynrccdc,  and  the  gret  noblesse. 

bility  of  our 

I  telle  no  thyng,  nor  off  our  predecessours. 
Nor  off  my  youthe  how  passid  been  the  flours — 
I  leue  al  this,  and  onto  mynde  call  39" 

The  wrechidnesse  that  I  am  in  fall. 

My  brother  My  brothit  fond  a  fals  occasioun 

falsely  accused  »  r   n  i  r 

me  of  corrupt-  A-geyn[eJs  me,  and  gan  a  cause  teyne 

ing  his  wifes  rj.^  ban[y]she  me  out  off  our  regiouw. 

virtue,  exiled 
me  from  our 
country  and 
tried  to  kill 


And  gan  at  me  off  hatrede  so  disdeyne, 

Vpon  me  affermyng  in  certeyne. 

In  our  kyngdam,  which  callid  is  Missene, 

I  sholde  haue  ley[e]n  bi  his  wiff  the  queene.  3920 

This  he  compassid  ful  falsli  off  malis, 
Hymsilff  weel  knowyng  that  it  was  nat  so, 
Ay  founde  onkynde,  and  in  his  auys 

3889.  doth]  he  dothe  H  5,  P  —  precell]  excelle  R. 

3892.  nor]  ne  non  R,  nor  noon  H  5,  J.     3893.  his]a  R. 

3895.  Bi]  For  bv  H. 

3902.]   I  see  notnyng  neithir  I  knowe  non  othir  R. 

3910.  nor]  nethir  R,  neither  P,  H  5.     3912.   onto]  to  R. 

3915.  began  R.      3917-    hi  gan  R. 

3920.  I  sholde]  In  shuld  R.       3922.   nat]  no  R. 

3923.  Ay]  Eurre  R. 

BK.  l] 

Atreus  and  ThyesUs 





Nat  lik  my  brother,  but  my  dedli  fo;  3924 

And  to  encrece  gret  parcell  off  my  wo, 
Bi  long  processe  in  his  entencioun 
He  ymagined  my  destruccioun. 

And  his  cheefF  cause  was  fals[e]  couetise,  3928 

Touchyng  this  thyng  which  he  dede  on  me  feyne; 
And  yit  this  kyngdam,  treuli  to  deuise, 
Shold  haue  be  partid  of  riht  atwen  vs  tweyne: 
But  a-geyn  trouthe  he  dede  so  ordeyne 
Me  to  exile*  out  off  that  regioun, 
Hymsilff  allone  to  haue  possessioun. 

Yit  in  his  herte  he  caste  a-nother  wile 
To  myn  ondoyng  and  desolacioun: 
To  the  place  where  he  me  dede  exile, 
Vnder  a  shadwe  off  fals  collusioun 
To  make  a  maner  reuocacioun, 
Off  brethirheed  shewyng  a  pretense, 
Me  to  resorte  a-geyn  to  his  presence, 

To  be  accepted,  as  a  brother  sholde, 
With  ful  accord  stille  with  hym  tabide, 
All  iniuries,  off  which  affom  I  tolde, 
On  outher  part  forgete  &  set  a-side. 
That  nothyng  afftir  sholde  our  loue  deuyde; 
But  of  oon  will  and  oon  entencioun 
Leede  al  our  liff  withoute  dyuysioun. 

Wheroff  the  peeple  was  ful  glad  and  liht 
Thoruhout  Missene  the  myhti  regioun. 
At  my  resortyng  fyndyng  euery  wiht 
Redi  off  herte  and  hool  affeccioun 
Me  to  receyue  into  that  noble  toun; 
And  noon  so  redy,  bi  signes  out  shewyng, 
To  make  me  cheer,  in  soth,  as  was  the  kyng. 

There  is  no  damage  in  comparisoun. 
That  may  be  likned,  bi  no  rassemblaunce. 
To  feyned  trouthe  and  symulacioun. 

because  he 
wanted  the  en- 
tire kingdom 
for  himself. 

Afterwards  he 
pretended  re- 



and  we  made  up 
our  differences. 

which  pleased 
our  subjects, 
who  received 
me  back  gladljr. 



There  is  noth- 
ing worse  than 
fraud  hid  under 
an  honest  face, 

3924.   but]  bud  lik  R. 

3928.    This  and  the  next  txoo  stanzas  are  transposed  with  the 

following  four  in  R. 
393 1,   departid  R  —  of  riht]  trewly  H. 
3933-   exile]  besile  B,  R,  J,  besyle  H  5  (exile  H,  P,  R  3).    . 
3937.   did  me  R.       3940.   he  shewyng  H.       3944.   tofomr  H. 
3945.   partye  R  —  forgot  H.       3947.   all  off  00  will  R. 

3949.  was]  were  R  —  J,  P  om.  the  four  following  stanzas. 

3950.  the]  that  R.       3953.   receyue]  resorte  R. 


Atreus  and  Thyestes 

[bk.  I 

Thus  I  came 
home.  My 
brother  acted 
as  if  he  were 
with  joy, 

Whan  fraude  is  hid  with  a  fair  contenauwce, 
Pretendyng  trouthe  outward  hi  disseyuauwce,       3960 
And  vndirnethe,  off  most  fals  entent, 
Off  doubilnesse  darith  the  serpent. 
As  vnder  floures  is  shroudid  the  dragouw, 
For  to  betraisshe  bi  sodeyn  violence  3964 

like  a  snake      Such  folk  as  haue  no  suspeciouw, 

beneath  flowers,  y^  ,.  .         ■ 

rJut  treuli  meene  in  ther  peur  innocence, 

Til  thei  be  cauht  dispurueied  off  difFence, 

As  is  a  fissh  with  bait  off  fals  plesauwce,  3968 

The  hook  nat  seyn,  to  brynge  hym  to  myschauwce. 

Thus  semblabli,  at  myn  horn  comyng 

I  was  receyued  with  eueri  circumstauwce, 

Lich  as  halfF  heir  and  brother  to  the  kyng;  3972 

And  he,  pretendyng,  as  bi  contenauwce, 

That  he  hadde  so  inli  gret  plesauwce 

Off  my  repair,  off*  trouthe  he  tolde  so. 

For,  reioisshyng,  saide  he  wolde  go  3976 

Onto  his  goddis  to  doon  sum  obseruauwce 

For  this  accord,  and  humble  sacrefise, 

Made  his  mynystris  with  feithful  attendaunce 

Tawaite  on  me  in  al  ther  beste  wise;  3980 

It  nedith  nat  to  tellyn  nor  deuise, 

Nor  in  writyng  in  bookis  for  to  sette 

HalfF  the  ioie  he  made  whan  we  mette. 

First  how  freendli  he  dede  me  embrace  3984 

Off  hertli  gladnesse  withynwe  his  armis  tweyne. 

And  how  for  ioie  the  teris  on  his  face 

Ful  entierli  gan  doun  distill  &  reyne, 

That,  for  my  part,  I  koude  me  nat  restreyne,       3988 

But  that  I  muste  off  frenshipe  fraternall 

Weepe  as  dede  he  in  his  estat  roiall. 

Innocent  lambs  The  wiH  wolff  that  cast  hym  to  deuoure  [p.  50] 

tricked.  The  celi  lamb,  which  can  no  diffence,  3992 

Nor  non  helpe  hymseluen  to  socoure, 

So  feeble  he  is  to  make  resistence, 

Which  demeth  trouthe  off  fals  apparence  — 

What  wonder  ist  the  fraude  nat  conceyued,  3996 

Thouh  such  lambes  onwarli  be  deceyued  ? 

3964.   be  trausse  R.      3975-   ofT]  &  off  B,  H. 

3980.   Tawaite]  To  wate  R.       3981.  nor]  ne  R. 

3982.   Nor]  Neithir  R  —  in]  bi  R. 

3984.   enbrace  H.       3988.    partie  R. 

3992.   no]  non  R,  noon  J.       3993.   Nor]  Ne  R  —  hym  sIlfF  R. 

and  we  em- 
braced one  an' 
other  weeping. 



Atreus  and  Thyestes 


Thouh  that  roses  at  mydsomer  be  ful  soote, 

Yit  vndimethe  is  hid  a  ful  sharp  spyne; 

Summe  fressh[e]  floures  han  a  ful  bittir  roote,       4000 

And  lothsum  gall  can  sugre  eek  vndermyne; 

In  dreedful  stormys  the  sonne  among  doth  shyne, 

And  vnder  a  shadwe  off  feyned  freendliheed, 

Ther  is  no  frenship  so  pereilous  for  to  dreed.         4004 

Thus  remembryng  the  feithful  woordis  stable 

Off  my  brother  shewed  onto  me, 

At  our  meetyng  the  kyssyng  amyable, 

Thassurid  couenantis  off  our  fraternite  —  4008 

But  ofFte  tyme  men  may  beholde  and  see 

That  lelies  growe  among  these  netlis  thikke, 

And  flourdelis  amyd  these  weedie  wikke. 

Thus  whil  I  restid  in  the  kyngis  hous,  4012 

Nothyng  aduertyng  his  dedli  cruelte, 

His  olde  hatreed  was  so  venymous 

And  so  odible  to  destroie  me, 

HymsilfF  tauenge  he  took  my  childre  thre,  4016 

And  secreli  — ^  is  it  nat  a  wonder?  — 

He  kutte  her  throtes  with  a  knyf  assonder. 

For  he  thouhte  that  it  dede  hym  good 

Hem  to  dismembre  into  pecis  smale,  4020 

And  in  a  vessel  for  to  gadre  ther  blood, 

Whil  thei  lay  still  &  loked  on  hym*  ful  pale. 

This  was  his  deede  in  a  desert  vale, 

Withynne  a  kaue,  that  no  man  sholde  espie  4024 

Tresoun  conspired  off  his  fals  tirawnye. 

This  was  the  substaunce  off  his  sacrefise, 

To  sle  my  childre  &  do  ther  throtis  bleede! 

I  trowe  the  goddis  therofF  dede  agrise,  4028 

Off  his  fals  off ryng  whan  thei  token  heede. 

He  dede  ther  membris  afftir  roste  &  seede, 

And  with  this  viauwde  most  abhomynable 

He  made  me  be  serued  at  the  table.  4032 

roses  are 
fragrant,  but 
there  are  sharp 
thorns beneath. 

No  friendship 
is  more  danger- 
ous than  one 
that  is  feigned. 

\\hile  I   dwelt 
in  my  brother's 
house,  suspect- 
ing nothing,  he 
cut  the  throats 
of  my  three 

and  had  them 
roasted  and 
served  up  to 
me  at  table. 

3998.  Thofe  \)t  Roos  R  3  —  that]  the  P. 

4001.  sugre  eek]  al  so  suger  R,  J. 

401 1,  amyd]  In  myddis  R,  J,  H  5,  among  H,  amonge  R  3 

weedis]  wides  J. 

4017.  secreli]  sikyrly  R  —  it  is  not  R. 

4022.  &]  om.  H  —  hym]  hem  B  —  ful]  om.  R,  J,  P,  H  5. 

4027.  do  ther  throtis]  make  ther  hertis  R,  J,  H  5, 

4032.  me  be  serued]  be  s/rruyd  me  H. 


Atreus  and  Thyestes 

[bk.  I 

I  am  sure  the 
gods  were  dis- 
pleased.    Even 
the  sun  was 
8o  horrified 
that  he 
his  light. 

In  couert  cruses,  also  thus  it  stood, 

To  staunche  my  thrust,  thoruh  his  cruel  vengaunce 

He  made  me  vnknowe  to  drynke  ther  blood. 

Was  nat  this  thyng  to  goddis  displesaunce  ?  4036 

Yis,  I  dar  sey[e]n;  for  hi  demonstrauwce, 

Vpon  this  deede,  withoute  mor  obstacle, 

The  Sonne  in  heuene  shewed  a  myracle. 

Which  sore  agrisid*  myht[e]  nat  beholde 
With  his  bemys  theron  to  caste  his  siht, 
For  displesaunce  his  clernesse  gan  withholde, 
And  for  vengaunce  to  withdrawe  his  liht. 
The  day  turnyng  for  horrour  onto  nyht. 
Whan  he  shon  brihtest  in  his  mydday  speer, 
Shrowded  his  face  and  wolde  nat  appeen 



Unwittingly  I    But  I,  allas,  vpon  this  cas  horrible, 

ate  my  children  '  '      x 

and  drank 

their  blood, 

which  grieves 

me  so  that  I 

can  hardly 

speak  of  it. 


Bochas,  did 
you  ever  hear 
of  a  more  un- 
happy man? 

That  koude  nat  ymagyne  nouther  thynke 

On  ony  mater  that  was  so  odible, 

Eet  off  ther  flessh  &  off  ther  blood  dede  drynke. 

Which  so  sore  doth  in  myn  herte  synke. 

That  I  may  nat,  touchyng  this  auenture,  4052 

The  circuwstaunces  for  constreynt  to  discure. 

It  nedith  me  nat  to  make  rehersaile 

Touchyng  myn  exil,  off  alle  maner  thynges, 

Off  dyuers  sorwes  that  me  dede  assaile,  4056 

My  woful  sihhes,  nor  my  greuous  wepynges, 

Nor  vpon  nyhtes  my  dolorous  wakynges, 

My  pouert[e],  nor  how  I  stood  in  dreed 

To  lese  my  liff;  wheroff,  Bochas,  tak  heed,  4060 

And  remembre  alle  [the]  circuwstaunces: 

Yiff  euer  thou  sauh,  off  hih  or  low  degre, 

Mor  contrari  or  mor  onhappi  chaunces, 

Than  thou  herd  remembrid  heer  off  me.  4064 

Weie  in  ballauwce  my  sorwes,  and  lat  see 

Yiff  any  sorwe  or  myscheuys  onrecurid 

May  countirpeise  to  that  I  haue  endurid! 

4035.   to]  om.  R. 

4037.  demonstracion  R. 

4040.  sore  agrisid]  for  agrisid  B,  H,  R  3  —  myhtnat  B. 

4042.  bi  gan  R.       4048.   nethir  R. 

4050.  &]  om.  R  —  dede]  also  did  I  R.       4051.   in]  too  R. 

4053.  circumstaunce  R  —  to]  om.  R.      4057.  nor]  ne  R. 

4058,  9.   Nor]  Neithir  R. 

4061.  the]  om.  H,  R  3  —  circumstaunce  H  5,  syrcumstaunce  P. 

4063.  chaunce  P,  H  5.      4066.  mischeefFR. 

BK.  l] 

Atreus  accuses  Thyestes 


M)m  infortunyes,  I  fond  hem  ay  so  fell,  4068 

Withoute  fauour  &  socour  dispurueied, 

My  brother  euer  on  me  so  cruell, 

That  I  ful  ofFte  desired  to  haue  deied; 

For  to  this  day  my  sperit  hath  be  conveied  4072 

With  sorwe  and  wo,  deuoid  off  al  refuge, 

Wherfore  I  pray,  O  Bochas  be  my  iuge, 

And  in  thi  writyng  lefF  me  nat  behynde,  [p.  51] 

Nor  in  thi  book[e]  that  thou  nat  disdeyne  4076 

Among  tho  folk  that  thou  ha[ue]  me  in  mynde, 
Which  that  for  sorwe  weepe,  waile  &  pleyne," 
And  thus  Thiestes,  rehersyng  al  his  peyne, 
Lich  as  he  wolde  hymsilfF  on  pecis  reende,  4080 

Maad  onto  Bochas  off  his  tale  an  eende. 

You  mu«  not 
leave  me  out 
of  your  book 
of  tragedies!" 

[How  Atreus  accusid  himsilf  of  mordre  and  his 
brothir  vpon  auoutry  don  wit/i  Europa  the 
quene.]  ^ 

ATREUS  afFtir,  with  a  ful  pale  cheer, 
And  off  envie  ful  ded  in  his  visage, 
Onto  lohn  Bochas  gan*  approche  neer,  4084 

Lich  as  he  hadde  be  fallen  in  a  rage, 
And  furiousli  abraid  in  his  langage, 
"  How  may  this  be,  that  lik  a  man  wer  wood, 
Thiestes  hath  his  venym  sowe  a-brod,  4088 

And  lik  a  rebaude  falsli  me  accusid, 

Nat-withstandyng  that  I  ful  cleerli  see 

Myn  infortunyes,  which  may  nat  be  refusid. 

So  sore,  alias,  thei  werke  ageyn[e]s  me!  4092 

And  thouh  Thiestes  fals  &  ontrewe  be. 

And  to  the,  Bochas,  with  a  face  pale 

Ageyn[e]s  me  hath  forged  heer  a  tale 

Which  in  effect  shal  be  founde  ontrewe,  4096 

Yiff  I  ha[ue]  space  my  compleynt  to  declare. 

For  I  purpose  to  telle  a  tale  newe 

Fro  poynt  to  poynt,  &  for  no  man  to  spare, 

4076.   Nor]  Neithir  R. 

4084.   gan]  he  gan  B,  H,  P,  R  3,  began  J,  byganne  H  5  —  he 

began  to  proche  R  —  approche]  to  approche  H  5. 
4087.   wer]  most  R  3. 
4091,   which  t)at  R.      4094.   to]  vnto  R. 

^  MS.   J.  leaf  22  recto. 

At  this,  Atreuj 
appeared,  pale 
»-ith  an^r, 
and  said: 
lies  like  the 
ribald  and 
madman  be  is. 

and  you,  too. 
Bochas,  are 
telling  tales 
about  me. 


Atreus  accuses  Thyestes 


Si*  ThSsies    ^^^  ^^  ^^^  roote  &  ground  off  al  my  care,  4100 

was  the  cause    And  cucnc  Hk  as  it  is  befall 

of  all  my  mis-     -nil  rr  n 

fortunes.  Kehcrse  the  gynnyng  orr  my  sorvves  all. 

Whilom  whan  I  regned  in  Messene, 

Off  age  lusti,  flouryng  in  my  fresshnesse,  4104 

With  my  wyfF  Europa,  that  was  queene, 

Most  renommed  that  tyme  off  hir  fairnesse, 

Thiestes  thanwe,  ground  off  al  falsnesse, 

As  a  traitour  his  tyme  dede  espie,  4108 

Thoruh  his  fals  fraude  &  his  flat[e]rie 

Compassid  a  mene  withynne  my  cite 

Bi  sleihti  wilis  that  were  incomparable, 

To  corrupte  my  wyuys  chastite,  4112 

Mi  bed  defoulyng,  a  thyng  intollerable, 

And  to  the  goddis  verray  abhomynable  — 

Vsyng  the  queen  to  his  flesshli  plesauwce. 

Til  onto  tyme  that  bi  continuaunce  4116 

She  bi  hym  hadde  sonys  too  or  thre, 

Echon  brouht  forth  in  fals  auout[e]rye. 

Deemyng  euer  that  thei  hadde  be 

Myn  owne  childre,  til  that  I  dede  espie,  4120 

How  that  this  swyn  thoruh  his  fals  lecherie,* 

This  Thiestes,  afFtir  Europa, 

Lay  bi  his  doubter  callid  Pellopia. 

And  bi  processe  foorth  a  child  she  brouhte,  4124 

Callid  Egistus,  which  whan  he  cam  to  age, 

As  seith  Bochas,  ful  gret  tresoun  he  wrouhte; 

For  bi  his  malice  and  his  gret  outrage 

Destroied  was  al  hooli  the  lynage  4128 

Off  Tantalus,  which  bi  his  lyuyng 

In  Frigia  regned  as  lord  and  kyng. 

They  cast         But  this  Egistus,  ofF  whom  I  spak  afForn, 

Egisthus  out        ^    ,   -,   ,  °  S     . 

to  wild  beasts,  t  alsii  bcgote,  myn  auctour  writ  the  same,  4132 

scandair'        OfF  Pclopia,  anou  as  he  was  born. 

To  hide  the  sclaundre  &  also  the  difFame 
OfF  Thiestes,  and  for  to  saue  his  name, 

4102.  begynnywg  R. 

4103.  WhilomJ  Summe  tyme  R  —  Misseene  H. 

4104.  my]  om.  H.       4106.   hirjom.  R.       4107.   as  grounde  R. 
4108.  dede  espie]  aspie  R.       4115.   to]  om.  R, 

4119.   euer]  om.  R,  H.       4120.   children  R. 

4121.   lecherie]  trecherie  B.       4125.   he]  l>at  he  R. 

413 1,  to  fom  R.      4132.   wryteth  R. 

He  corrupted 
Europa  ray 
wife  by  his 
fraud  and  flat- 
tery, an  intoler- 
able thing  to 
do,  and  an 
to  the  gods, 

and  had  two 
or  three  sons 
by  her,  which 
I  thought  my 
own.     After- 
wards this  swine 
had  a  son, 
Egisthus,  Ijy 
his  own 

BK.  l] 

Atreus  accuses  TbyesUs 

Whan  that  he  was  but  a  day  ofF  age, 
He  was  out  cast  to  beestis  ful  sauage 

To  be  deuoured,  the  story  is  weel  kouth, 
A  mylch[e]  goot  God  list  for  hym  prouyde, 
To  fostren  hym  in  his  tendre  youth, 
He  day  &  nyht  hggyng  bi  hir  side. 
Withynne  the  forest  thus  he  dede  abide 
Onto  tyme  that  he  gan  growe  in  age; 
Thanne  to  the  court  he  holdeth  his  passage, 

As  onknowe  to  eueri  maner  wiht, 
Wher  he  herde,  abidyng  in  houshold, 
OfF  his  kenreede,  &  how,  ageyn  al  riht, 
Thiestes  was  presumptuous  and  bold, 
Bi  his  deceytis*  compassid  manyfold, 
With  Europa  my  wiff  to  haue  a-do. 
And  on  Pelopia  begat  a  child  also. 

Which  was  hymsilff,  as  he  dede  vndirstonde 
Bi  euydencis  many  mo  than  on. 
Wherfore  off  malice  he  took  on  honde, 
On  me,  his  vncle,  tauengid  been  anon. 
For  Thiestes,  cheuest  off  all  my  fon, 
Myn  owne  brothir,  made  Egistus  blyue 
To  make  a  suerd  thoruhout  myn  herte  ryue. 

Thus  bi  this  moordre,  conspired  bi  tresoun. 

On  me  Atreus,  Hggyng  pale  and  ded, 

Cam  Thiestes  to  haue*  possessioun, 

And  sette  a  crowne  oniustli  on  his  hed. 

He  nouther  hadde  conscience  nor  dreed, 

Routheles  to  see  my  woundis  bleede, 

With  this  that  he  myhte  in  my  land  succeede. 

This  same  Egistus,  ful  falsli  in  his  lifF, 

As  a  yong  braunche  spronge  out  off  tresoun. 

Lay  bi  Clymestra,  which  that  was  the  wifF 

OfF  the  noble  worthi  kyng  Agamenoun, 

Liggyng  a-siege  tofFor  Troie  toun. 

And  this  Egistus,  which  is  a  thyng  nat  fair, 

Moordred  hym  also  in  Grece  at  his  repair. 








but  he  was 
fostered  bv  a 
goat  and  grew 
up  and  came 
to  my  court, 
where  he 
Itamed  who  his 
parer.ts  were. 

Incited  by 
Thyeite*,  he 
ran  a  sword 
through  Tcy 




I  hus  Thyestes 
bccine  kLig. 


Egisthuj  after- 
wards was  the 
paramour  of 
and  m-ifdered 


4139.  mylke  H,  R  3  —  prouvde]  punieie  R. 

4141.  He]  by  H  —  nyht  &  day  R. 

4145-  This  and  the  next  three  stanzas  are  om.  in  R,  J. 

4149.  dece\tes]  desertis  B.      4156.   cheuest]cheff  H,  chefe  R  3. 

4158.  r>'ue]  arrive  H.      4161.   han  B. 


Atreus  and  Thyestes 

[bk.  I 

Jocasta,  or 

I  admit  I 
roasted  Thyes- 
tes' children, 
but  he  begot 
my  wife;  and 
although  murder 
and  treason  are 
hateful,  he 
wronged  me 

Wherfore,  O  Bochas,  off  herte  I  pray[e]  the, 
Which  story.     Which  ofF  these  stories  is  now  most  terrible  ?  — 

Bochas,  IS  most  rr  i 

terrible,  that  of    (JlT   JLClippUS,   lOCaSta,  Ot  Oft  me? 

QidipuS,  of  r^-.     II  -ff    -I  -11 

1  elle  on  anon,  yirr  it  be  possible,  4176 

Which  off  ther*  sorwes  is  founde  most  penyble, 
OfF  Theban  brethre,  most  ful  off  wo  &  teene, 
Or  off  vs  tweyne  brethern  off  Missene  ? 

I  am  a-knowe,  as  for  my  partie,  4180 

OfFvengaunce  I  dede  a  cruel  deede: 

I  slouh  his  childre  ofF  malice  &  envie 

And  rosted  hem,  whan  that  thei  wer  dede» 

Onli  because,  yifF  thou  list  take  heede,  4184 

That  he  begat  hem,  as  roote  ofF  al  this  strifF, 

Vpon  Europa,  which  that  was  my  wifF. 

Such  hatful  thyngis  echman  sholde  lothe, 

Which  appertene  to  moordre  and  to  tresoun:        4188 

Thus  may  I  seyn,  we  been  vnhappi  bothe, 

He  first  bi  trespas  ofF  fornycaciouw 

Doon  bi  the  queen  withynwe  my  regioun, 

And  I,  disclauwdrid,  on  the  tothir  side,  4192 

OfF  hasti  vengaunce  to  been  an  homycide. 

My  bed  he  fouled  bi  his  auoutrie, 

To  God  &  man  a  thyng  most  detestable; 

And  I  ofF  malice  and  fals  malencolie  4196 

Slouh  his  childr^?  &  serued  hem  atte  table. 

Thus  entirchaungyng,  yifF  it  be  comendable, 

Ech  was  desirous,  thoruh  our  vnhappi  chauwce, 

Vpon  other  for  to  do  vengaunce,  4200 

Our  gret  hatreede,  most  odious  founde  att  all, 

Our  cruel  deedis  wrouht  on  outher  side, 

Senech  rehersith  hem  in  especiall 

In  his  tragedies;   and  ther  he  doth  deuyde  4204 

Our  compleyntis,  our  malice  &  our  pride. 

Our  fatal  eende  in  sorwe  &  myscheefF  fyned, 

Whan  Antropos  our  lyuys  threed  hath  twyned." 

It  was  tip  for 

and  Seneca 
tells  all  about 
us  in  his 

4174.  now]  om.  R,  J. 

4177.  ther]  these  B  —  founde]  om.  J,  R,  H  5  —  sorwes]  stones 

4178.  brethern  R.      4179.   Mycene  P.       4180.   for]  om.  R. 
4182.  &]  &  of  R.      4184.   bi  cause  repeated  in  R. 

4188.  2nd  to]  om.  R.      4190.   He]  The  R. 

4194.  he  fouled]  defoulid  R. 

4206.  fyned]  feyned  R. 

BK.  l] 

An  Envoy  on  Brotherly  Strife 

Whan  lohn  Bochas  fulli  hadde  espied  420S 

Off  these  too  brethre  thaccusaciouns, 

And  how  thel  hadde  maliciousli  replied 

Ech  ageyn  other  in  ther  discenciouns, 

He  gan  duUe  to  heere  ther  mociouns,  4212 

Put  vp  his  penne,  &  wrot  nat  mor  a  woord 

Off  the[r]  furie  nor  off  ther  fals  discord. 


THIS  tragedie  sheweth  a  figure, 
A  maner  ymage  &  also  a  liknesse,  4216 

How  contrari  it  is  onto  nature, 
Blood  onto  blood  to  shewe  onkynd[e]nesse. 
This  woful  story  can  her  [ful]  weel  witnesse. 
All  such  debatis  been,  as  ye  shal  fynde,  4220 

Hatful  to  God  and  contrary  onto  kynde. 

For  there  is  non  mor  dreed  ful  auenture, 

Than  in  kynredis  to  fynde  frowardnesse, 

Nor  no  damage  mor  pereilous  to  endure,  4224 

Than  in  frenshepes  whan  there  is  straungenesse 

A  maner  parti;   bexaumple  I  dar  expresse, 

To  seen  the  tre  debate  ageyn  the  rynde, 

To  God  were  hatful  and  contrary  onto  kynde.      4228 

Eueri  beeste  and  eueri  creature 

Loueth  his  semblable,  off  kyndli  riht,  I  gesse; 

And  whan  on  trouthe*  tweyne  hertis  assure, 

Vndepartid,  off  verray  parfitnesse,  4232 

It  were  a  vicious  froward  cursidnesse, 

Ther  loue  so  knet,  to  losne  it  or  onbynde, 

Hatful  to  God  and  contrari  onto  kynde. 

Prynds,  Pryncessis,  doth  your  besi  cure  4236 

Fro  you  tauoide  striff,  fraude  &  doubilnesse, 

Remembrith  you  vpon  thunhappi  eure 

Off  these  too  brethre  &  off  ther  wrechidnesse, 

And  off  ther  bothe  malicious  wilfulnesse,  4240 

And  how  ther  stryues  —  hath  this  weel  in  mynde  — 

To  God  was  hatful  and  contrary  onto  kynde. 

4208.   had  fully  H.  4212.   began  R  —  ther]  the  R. 

4213.  nat]  no  R,  H,  R  3. 

4214.  nor]  neithir  R. 

4219.  ful  weel]  om.  P.       4220.    as]  om.  H. 

4225.  Frenshippe  R.      4227.   ayenst  R. 

4231.  ontruthe  B.       4234.   losne  it]  louse  R. 

4238.  Remembre  R  —  eure]  cure  R,  4241-   haveth  R. 


After  hearing 
the  stories  of 
these  two 
Bochas  put 

his  pen  and 
refused  to  write 
another  word 
about  them. 

This  tragedy 
shews  how 
strife  is  to 
God  and 

Nothing  is 
more  dreadful 
than  enmity 

Every  living 
creature  lo%e$ 
his  fellow  of 
natural  right. 
It  were  a 
vicious  deed  to 
make  them 

Princes  and 
Princesses,  try 
to  avoid 
strife,  fraud, 
and  deceit; 
such  things 
are  very 
to  God. 


The  Story  of  Theseus 

[bk.  I 

Athens  wns 
once  called  the 
nurse  of  phi- 
losophers and 
sun  of  all 

Its  renown 
shone  in  every 

[Off  Duk  Theseus  and  Adriane  ^at  saued  his  liflf 
in  the  Caue/  and  how  he  lik  a  forsworn  man 
forsook  hir  and  weddid  faire  Phedra/  whiche 
aftirward  slouh  hirsilf .]  ^ 

ATHENES  whilom,  whaw  it  was  in  his 
flour^s,  .  [P-  53] 

Was  callid  norice  of  philisophres  wise,  4244 

Princesse  off  poetis  &  expert  oratour^s, 
Sonwe  off  all  sciences,  as  clerkis  can  deuise, 
Whens  al  cunwyng  most  cleerli  dede  arise. 
Named  off  Grece  the  lanterne  and  the  liht,  4248 

Which  thoruh  al  erthe  shadde  his  beemys  briht. 

With  noble  titles,  which  been  out  off  nou?nbre, 

In  eueri  coost  his  renoun  dede  shyne, 

The  fame  theroff  was  clipsed  with  non  0U77ibre,    4252 

All  other  scooles  it  dede  so  enlumyne; 

For  in  that  cite,  pleynli  to  termyne. 

Off  the  seuene  artis,  as  doun  from  on*  hedspryng, 

Ther  ran  out  ryuers  and  stremys  off  al  cunwyng.  4256 

These  sciences  were  callid  liberall, 

Onli  off  fredam,  fraunchise  and  liberte; 

For  off  a  stok  that  were  preued  thrall, 

Ther  sholde  no  brauwche  studie  in  that  cite,          4260 

But  thilke  blood  that  were  fouwde  fre, 

Bothe  be  discent  &  lyneal  hih  noblesse, 

Ther  to  scoleie  sholde  haue  interesse. 

This  cite  was  sacrid  to  Mynerue,  4264 

For  ther  wisdam  and  ther  sapience; 

Off  Mercurie  the  feestis  thei  obserue, 

For  rethorik  and  for  eloquence; 

And  myhti  Mars  gaff  hem  influence  4268 

With  glade  aspectis,  ther  parti  to  a-mende. 

Noblesse  off  knyhthod  ther  clergie  to  diffende. 

and  was  famous  This  touw  was  nobleicd  be  title  of  other  thynges, 

for  its  dukes  a       i  i       •  i  i    •         i 

and  kings,        And  most  glorious  reknyd  m  that  age  4272 

The^usTs^lTof  Be  successiouw  off  dukes  and  off  kynges, 


4246.   Sunne^  Som^  H.      4248.  Name  R. 
4253.   scooles]  om.  R.       4254.   determyne  R. 
4255.   on]  an  B,  H.       4256.   stremys  &  Ryvers  H. 
4260.  Ther]  The  R.       4266.   thei]  om.  R. 
4270.   ther]  the  R.         4273-   2nd  ofQom.  R. 
IMS.  J.  leaf  22  verso. 

and  only  free 
men  of  good 
family  could 
study  there. 

The  city  was 
sacred  to 

BK.  l] 

The  Story  of  Theseus 


A-mong[es]  which  duk  Theseus  bi  lynage, 
Sone  off  Egistus,  ful  fressh  off  his  corage, 
Excellyng*  alle  of  prudence  &  manheed^f  4276 

That  euer  dede  the  crowne  ther  posseed^. 

For  to  that  cite,  thoruh  his  hih  noblesse, 

In  ther  diffencis  such  trust,  such  [af]fiaunce 

He  gaff  to  hem  bi  his  expert  prowesse,  4280 

Off  his  triumphes  so  gret  habundaunce. 

And  speciaH  ther  renoun  to  auaunce. 

He  made  hem  fre  ther  truage  for  to  lete 

Ageyn  Mynos  the  myhti  kyng  off  Crete.  4284 

For  bi  his  force,  the  story  is  weel  kouth, 

Them  to  fraunchise  and  al  that  regioun. 

The  Mynotaur  he  slouh  in  tendre  youth; 

And  afftirward  he  off  deuocioun,  4288 

Taquite  hymsilff[e]  lik  a  champioun, 

Theroff  made  solempne  sacrefise 

To  lubiter  in  most  humble  wise; 

And  in  a  theatre  callid  Maratoun,  4292 

Duk  Theseus  hadde  this  victorie. 

Afftir  he  wente  to  Colchos  with  lasoun, 

Cheeff  off  counseil,  as  makid  is  memorie. 

And  bi  processe  to  augmente  his  glorie,  4296 

With  Hercules  his  brother  to  conveie, 

Geyn  Amazones  he  wente  to  werreie,  — 

Conquered  hem,  his  manhod  was  weel  seene, 

His  force,  his  noblesse  in  that  mortal  stryff.  4300 

And  afftir  that,  Ypolita  the  queene 

This  Theseus  took  onto  his  wiff. 

And  for  his  brother  he  list  iuparte  his  liff, 

Duk  Pirotheus,  whan  he  dede  vndirtake  4304 

The  centaures  to  outraie  for  his  sake. 

This  centaures  poetis  specefie, 

And  Seruyus  maketh  mencioun, 

How  thei  were  whilom  engendrid  on  a  skie,  4308 

Whan  first  ther  fadir,  callid  Yrion, 

Was  enamourid,  ful  many  day  agon, 

4275.  ofT]  in  R.      4276.   Excellyng]  Excelsyng  B. 

4279.  fiauwce]  H,  R  3.      4284.     Ageynst  R. 

4292.  theatre]  tiatre  R.      4293.   this]  the  R. 

4295.  made  R,  H.      4296.   bi]  om.  R.       4298.   Ayens  R. 

4303.  list  iuparte]  leyde  in  iupardie  R. 

4308.  on]ofH,  P,  R3.      4310.   many  a  R. 

who  slew  the 
Minotaur  and 
freed  the 
Athenians  from 
their  tribute, 
was  the  most 

Theseus  went 
to  Colchos 
with  Jason  and 
to  Femenye 
with  Hercules, 

where  he  mar- 
ried Hippolyte. 

He  also  con- 
quered the  cen- 
taurs, creatures 
begotten  on  a 
cloud  by  Ixion, 


Theseus  and  the  Centaurs 


who  fell  in 
love  with  his 
mistress,  and 
she,  disdaining 
him,  took  the 
likeness  of  a 

which  in  his 
folly  he  be- 
lieved to  be 

The  centaurs 
were  half  man, 
half  horse. 
They  tried  to 
carry  away 
Pirithous'  wife 

but  Theseus 
subdued  them. 

Vpon  luno,  because  she  was  so  fair, 

Gouerneresse  and  goddesse  off  the  hair.  4312 

This  Yrion  was  hir  secretarie, 

And  for  hir  fairnesse  &  excellent  beute, 

Loued  hir  ful  hote,  al-be  she  was  contrarie 

To  his  desir,  in  Bochas  ye  may  see.  4316 

Hym  to  delude,  he  writith,  how  that  she 

Hirsilff  transfourmyd,  as  she  [that]  myhte  &  koude, 

Into  the  liknesse  off  an  heuenli  cloude, 

This  Yrion  pleynli  supposyng  4320 

It  was  hirsilff,  and  euene  thus  he  wrouhte. 
The  cloude  enbracyng,  withoute  mor  tarieng,  — 
Off  his  foli  the  goddesse  there  he  souhte; 
And  with  ther  medlyng  atwen  hem  foorth  thei 

brouhte  4324 

The  centauris,  these  beestis  merueilous, 
Which  off  nature  be  founde  monstruous.* 

Halff  man,  halff  hors,  [dejpartid  thus  on 

tweyne,  [p.  54] 

And  wonderful  bi  ther  descripciouw,  4328 

Off  fals[e]  malice  dede  hemselff  ordeyne 
On  Pirotheus  to  make  invasioun, 
And  hym  to  putte  out  off  possessioun 
Off  his  wiff,  callid  Ypodamen,  4332 

And  hir  to  rauysshe,  maugre  all  his  men. 

Ther  were  off  hem  an  hundred  [as]  in  nouwbre, 

Swifft  as  the  wynd  4n  ther  cours  renwyng. 

Which  off  malice  cast  hem  to  encouwbre  4336 

Duk  Pirotheus  the  day  off  his  weddyng, 

And  to  rauysshe  his  wiff  at  ther  comyng, 

Yiff  for  his  parti  ther  were  no  diffence 

Ageyn  ther  power  to  make  resistence.  4340 

But  Theseus  list  nat  to  delaie 

Pirotheus  his  brother  to  diffende. 

First  the  centaures  he  knyhtli  dede  outraie 

So  mortalli,  thei  durste  hym  nat  offende;  4344 

Afftir  this  conquest  to  helle  thei  descende, 

4312.  Gouirrnesse  R,  P,  H  J. 

4315.  al  be  it  R.       4320-4515.]   om.  U,  fol.  missing. 

4326.  monstruous]  contrarious  B,  R  3,  P  —  ther  nature  R. 

4327.  on]  in  R,  J.      432?.  And]  A  R. 
4330.  invasioun]  inuocacion  R. 

4343.   knyhtly  he  did  R,  J.      4345.  this]  the  R,  Jje  J. 

BK.  l] 

Theseus  and  Piritbous 


Duk  Pirothe  and  worthi  Theseus, 
Maugre  the  daunger  off  cruel  Cerberus. 

There  thei  rauysshe  in  ther  mortal  teene, 
Thoruh  ther  knyhthod,  yifF  ye  Hst  to  lere, 
Despiht  off  Pluto,  Proserpyna  the  queene, 
Which  off  lubiter  was  the  douhter  deere. 
And  Pirotheus  fond  first  the  manere 
Off  wilful  force,  thoruh  his  hih  renoun, 
Rewmys  to  conquere  and  holde  possessioun. 

But  bi  writyng  sothli  off  Ouyde, 
He  pleynli  tellith  how  duk  Theseus 
Arested  was  in  hell,  and  muste  abide, 
Bi  the  force  off  cruel  Cerberus; 
And  Pluto  was  to  hym  contrarious. 
Til  Pirotheus,  to  fynden  a  reles, 
The  cas  declared  onto  Hercules. 

Which  off  his  knyhthod  a  remedi  fond. 
To  helpe  his  freend  [he]  dede  his  besi  peyne; 
First  bi  his  prowesse  Cerberus  he  bond 
At  belle  gatis  with  a  treble  cheyne, 
And  off  his  manhod  he  dede  so  ordeyne, 
Duk  Theseus  from  daunger  to  discharge, 
Maugre  Pluto  for  to  gon  at  large. 

Thei  were  in  armys  brethre  bothe  tweyne, 
Louede  as  brethre  bothe*  in  werre  and  pes. 
That  nouther  koude  onto  other  feyne, 
Ther  liff  to  iuparte  &  putte  hemsilf;'  in  pres. 
And  bothe  as  brethre  wer  callid  Hercules, 
To  signefie,  poetis  can  weel  tell. 
This  name  in  conquest  all  other  doth  excell. 

Bi  old[e]  tyme  thei  that  were  pereles 
For  ther  noblesse  in  dyuers  regiouns. 
All  thei  for  manhod  wer  namyd  Hercules, 
Such  as  were  noised  for  famous  champiouns, 
Tigres  to  daunte,  boores  and  leouns. 
And  renommed  among  hem  euerichon, 
Bookis  afferme,  that  Theseus  was  on. 





Afterwards  he 
and  Pirithous 
descended  into 
hell,  where 
they  made 
off  with 

But  Ovid  »ay» 

that  Theseus 
was  arrested  in 
hell  and  kept 
there  by  Cer- 
berus, and 
rescued  by 

AXfiA     who  bound 
^^  ^    Cerberus  with 
a  triple  chain. 



Theseus  and 
Pirithous  were 
brothers  in 
arms,  and 

Ax-j()    a  name  given 
to  peerless 
knights  in  old 


4350.  Preserpyna  R. 
4363.   he]  om.  J. 

4370.  bothe]  togidre  B,  R  3,  P  (both  R,  J,  H  5). 

4371.  neithir  R,  J.       4372.   lupardie  R,  J. 

4382.   Bookis]  Bochas  P,  H  5  —  afferme]  affermeth  R,  J,  P, 

122  The  Early  Life  of  Theseus  [bk.  i 

First,  as  I  saide,  bl  his  knyhtli  trauaile, 
brought  Whan  Athenes  stood  in  dyuysioun  4384 

peace  to  A-mong  hcmsilfF  bi  werre  and  bi  bataile, 

stored  exiles,      Bi*  his  wisdam  and  his*  discreciouw, 

He  sette  accord  withynne  that  noble  touw: 

Them  that  were  exilid  &  stood  in  nouwcerteyn,    4388 

He  off  his  knyhthod  made  hem  resorte  ageyn; 

made  laws  and  He  gafF  hcm  lawes  wherbi  thei  sholde  hem  gie, 

governed  *j     * 

wisely,  Noble  statutis  foundid  on  resouw, 

Sette  among  hem  so  prudent  poHcie,  4392 

In  ther  lyuyng  that  no  discencioun 

Sholde  arise  bi  non  occasioun 

A-mong  hemsilfF,  in  hih  or  low  estat, 

Prouydyng  euere  that  there  were  no  debat,  4396 

so  that  the       Thus  gan  the  cite  encrece  and  multeplie, 

city  prospered     ,^  °  _,       .     ,  i      •    i 

and  became  the  lo  wcxe  tamous  oiT  wisoam  and  nchesse; 

first  centre  of      f-r^i  i  iir  rr*!*!  i- 

knighthood  and  1  her  Sprang  the  welle  hrst  oit  philosophic; 

p  losop  y.       Xher  first  off  knyhthod  ros  the  hih  noblesse,         4400 
Bi  Theseus,  Bochas  bereth  witnesse: 
Thus  thynges  too,  lik  as  it  is  fouwde, 
Clergie  and  knyhthod  dede  there  habouwde. 

And  for  to  sette  the  cite  in  quieete,  4404 

CreonTrrifurn  ^6  made  pcs  thoruh  al  that  regions; 
the  remains  of  ^nd  off  knyhthod  he  manli  dede  meete 

lords  slam  at  -; 

Thebes  to  their  Xhc  ctucl  titauwt  that  callid  was  Creouw, 

ladies.  A  /r  1  i  •  • 

Maugre  hym  made  restituciouw  4408 

Off  lordis  bonys,  that  were  at  Thebes  slayn, 
To  the  ladies,  wheroff  thei  were  ful  fayn. 

Theseus  lived    Thus  thoruh  Grcce  abrod  his  renoun  spradde;  [p.  i;d 

long  in  honour    ^t-     i  i     i-   r  i-  i  i- 

and  joy,  but     His  knyhtli  tame  gan  gretli  multeplie,  4412 

turned  her'^face  And  longe  in  ioie  thus  his  liff  he  ladde, 
anf threw  hiS  Whil  that  Fortune  list  hym  magnefie: 
whTei/"'™  *""  But  ay  hir  gladnesse  is  meynt  with  sum  envie. 

For  she,  froward,  list  no  mor  soiourne  4416 

With  Theseus,  but  gan  hir  face  tourne 

4386.  7  are  transposed  in  B.       4386.    2nd  his]  bi  his  B. 

4387.  He]ToR. 

4388.  stooden  R. 

4391.  founde  R  —  on]  of  J. 

4397.  bigan  R,  J.   4403.  knyhthod]  lawe  J,  H  5,  lowe  R. 

4404.  And]  om.  R,  J.   4412.  began  R,  bigan  J. 

4417.  began  R,  J,  H  5. 

BK.  i]  Theseus  forsakes  Ariadne  1 23 

Awey  from  hym,  wex  peruers  and  froward, 

Off  his  glorie*  ongoodli  gan  to  dulle, 

Doun  from  hir  wheel  she  made  [him]  go  bakward,  4420 

Off  his  good  fame  she  gan  the  fethres  pulle; 

Whan  his  noblesse  was  hiest  at  the  fulle  — 

I  meene  the  fulle  off  his  felicite  — 

Ther  folwed  an  ebbe  off  gret  aduersite.  4424 

And,  morouer,  hir  frowardli  to  quite.  After  he  h»d 

'      ,  .      '  ^        ^  slam  the 

His  onhappis  rehersyng  on  bi  on,  Minouur 

On  the  firste,  as  Bochas  list  endite, 

Was  whan  he  lay  in  Crete  among  his  fon,  4428 

And  out  off  prisoun  sholde  into  Grece  gon, 

Repeiryng  homward  &  hymsilff  withdrawe, 

The  Mynotaur  whan  he  hadde  slawe. 

The  firste  emprise  that  he  vndirtook,  4432 

Was  whan  he  scaped  thymportable  peyne 

Off  Mynotaurus,  lik  as  seith  my  book,  AriadnT^fo 

And  with  hym  ladde  the  kyngis  douhtren  tweyne,        "^'^"^  *>'»  ''f^- 

That  he  off  malice  falsli  list  disdeyne  4436 

Geyn  Adriane,  which  that  dede  hym  saue 

From  the  deth,  whan  he  lay  in  the  caue. 

Sholde  ha  be  slayn,  hadde  nat  hir  socour  be,  — 

In  his  repair  he  took  theroff  non  heed;  4440  phld^a"'^ 

He  leffte  hir  sool*  in  gret  aduersite 

Withynne  an  yle,  in  myscheeff,  sorwe  &  dreed. 

And  fair[e]  Phedra  with  hym  he  dede  leed, 

Weddid  hir,  lik  a  forswore  man:  /\'\^'\ 

Thus  with  ontrouthe  his  myscheeff  first  began. 

How  Phedra  quit  hir,  —  the  story  is  weel  knowe  —      Phedra  fell  in 
In  his  absence,  Bochas  writith  thus,  poiytus,  who 

WTian  that  she,  withynne  a  litil  throwe,  4448 

Loued  ageyn  kynde  his  sone  Ypolitus; 
But  he  to  hire  was  contrarious, 

4419.  gloire  B  —  gan  to  dulle]  be   gan  to   double  R,  gan   to 
double  J. 

4420.  him]  om.  R,  J,  P,  R  3,  H  5. 

4421.  fame  she  gan]  name  she  bigan  R,  J.       4422.  the]  om.  J. 
4425.    to  aquyte  R,  J.       4427.    to  endite  R,  J. 

4433.  escapid  R,  J.       4435.   ladde]  hadde  R,  had  J. 

4437.  Geyn]  Ayens  R,  Ayenst  J. 

4441.  sool]  soul  B,  alone  H  5. 

4446.  hir]  om.  R  —  knowe]  om.  R,  coulje  J. 

4449.  his]hirj,  P,  Hs. 

124  Phcedra  and  Hippolytus  [bk.  i 

Nolde  [not]  assente  to  so  foul  a  deede; 

For  shame  he  fledde,  &  parcel  eek  for  dreede,       4452 

was  killed,  as    To  his  fadcr  for  she  hym  dede*  accuse, 

ready  seen.       As  ye  tofom  ha[ue]  the  story  sayn. 
And  for  he  dede  hir  cumpany  refuse, 
He  wente  his  way  &  cam  neuer  agayn;  4456 

For  ye  haue  herd[e]  how  that  he  was  slayn 
Withynne  a  char,  thoruh  his  vnhappi  chaunce, 
And  how  Phedra  throuh  myscheefF  &  vengaunce 

She  then  slew    Slouh  hirsclfF,  ageyn  al  womanheed  —  '4460 

herself;  and  all    __  .         i   •      i         i  r  t  i  i 

this  Theseus      Hcer  m  this  book  totorn  as  1  you  tolde. 
a^puntshment^    Of  which[e]  thyng,  whan  Theseus  took  heed, 
Ariadne^""''"^  Thouhte  it  was  vengaunce  for  his  ofFencis  olde; 

For  he  nat  quit  hym  lik  as  he  was  holde  4464 

To  Adriane,  which  sholde  ha  been  his  wifF, 
Bi  whos  socour  he  scaped  with  the  lifF. 

This  infortune*  and  this  vnhappi  chaunce 

Was  to  his  noblesse  ful  contrarious.  4468 

The  deth  also  was  to  hym*  a  vengaunce 

Off  his  sone  callid  Ypolitus, 

For  sorwe  off  whom,  this  duk  Theseus 

With  salte  teris  sore  gan  compleyne  4472 

At  the  exequies  off  these  ilke  tweyne. 

He  wept  bitter  I  ttowe  also  it  dede  hym  sore  greue, 
funeral  and       Duk  Pirotheus  whan  he  sauh  li  ded, 
TrtevS'^Vhen     Slayn  with  a  beeste,  &  myht[e]  nat  releue,  —       4476 
!iiin^by'c"r-     Kyug  Orchus  hound,  which  hadde  a  treble  hed, 
berus.  Whos  teth  horrible  off  his  blood  were  red. 

Which  infortunye,  whan  he  gan  beholde, 
Onto  the  deth  he  felte  his  herte  colde.  4480 

And  for  to  rekne  the  grete  wrechidnessis, 
sorrow  was  that  Thunhappi  chaunccs  that  fill  hym  in  his  liff. 

enceto'phxdra.Amongis  alle  his  other  gret  distressis, 

he  gave  jcred- 

"ra,  _ 

Was  non  so  mortal  nor  so  ful  off  striff  4484 

As  whan  that  he  gaff  credence  to  his  wiff, 

4451.  not]  om.  R  3.  44S2-   eek]  also  R. 

4453.  hym  dede]  dede  hym  B. 

4456.  his  way]  away  R,  J,  P,  H  5. 

4464.  holde]  beholde  R,  J.       4466.   the]  his  R. 

4467.  infortune]  Infortunye  B.       4469.     to  hym  was  also  B. 

4472.  bigan  R,  bigan  to  pleyne  J. 

4473.  At]  And  R,  J  —  these]  the  R,  l>e  J. 
4475.  sauh  li]  sih  be  R,  sije  be  J.       4479.   infortune  R,  J. 
4484.  nor]  ne  J. 

BK.  l] 

Princes  should  not  be  unjust 


Phedra  callid,  which  off  entencioun 
Compassid  ontreull  an  accusacioun 

Vpon  YpoHtus,  off  hatreed  and  envie,  4488 

Because  he  nolde  do  so  gret  offence 

As  for  tassente  to  hir  lecherie; 

Therfore  off  deth  he  felte  the  violence. 

And  for  his  fader  to  soone  gaff  credence,  4492 

Bochas  forbit  husbondis  al  ther  lyues, 

Withoute  preeff,  nat  leeue  to  soone  her  wyues, 

Nor  be  [to]  hasti  talis  for  to  leeue  [p.  56] 

Off  flaterers  in  chaumbre  nor  at  table;  4496 

Forgers  of  lesyngis,  myn  auctowr  doth  weel  preeue, 

Tabide  with  lordis  that  thei  be  nat  able. 

Heeron  he  maketh  a  chapitle  ful  notable, 

And  off  his  writyng,  this  was  the  cause  whi:         4500 

That  pryncis  sholde  examyne  ech  parti. 

Off  wisdam  also  and  off  discrecioun, 

Withoute  a  preeff  nat  be  parciall; 

For  to  a  prynce  it  is  confusioun, 

Yiff  atween  parties  he  be  nat  founde  egall, 

Causid  many  on  for  to  haue  a  fall; 

God  suffred  such  nat  longe  to  contune,* 

Withdrouh  ther  grace  &  hyndred  ther  fortune. 

and  for  thij 
reason  Bochat 
forbid*  hus- 
band* to  be- 
lieve what 
their  wive*  tell 
them  unless 
there  be  proof. 

and  advise*  u* 
not  to  be 
hasty  to  be- 
lieve tale*  of 
any  lort. 

A  prince  must 
be  equally  ynX. 
to  all  men, 
otherwise  Go'J 
4504    will  punish 

him  as  he  did 

Thus  Theseus  for  his  hastynesse, 

His  happ,  his  grace  discrecid  day  be  day. 

The  fame  appallid  off  his  worthynesse. 

And  froward  Fortune  in  a-wait  eek  lay, 

For  his  diffautis  to  hyndre  hym  yiif  she  may; 

Caste  she  wolde  his  noblesse  disauaunce. 

And  thanne  his  kyngdam  bi  disobeisaunce 

From  hym  withdrouh  honour  and  reuerence, 

Ful  frowardli  thoruh  al  his  regiouTi. 

Thei  off  Athenys,  bi  cruel  violence. 

Fill  ageyn  hym  in*  rebellioun, 

That  he  was  fayn  to  fleen  out  off  the  toun: 





whose  subject* 
rebelled  and 
finally  drove 
him  out  of 
hi*  kingdom. 

4485.  whan  that]]  was  whan  R,  J  —  he]  om.  J. 

4486.  oflF]  an  R,  J.      4489.   he]  om.  J. 

4490.   to  assente  J  —  vnto  R.       4494-   her]  om.  J. 
449$.   leeue]  heere  R,  here  J,  H  5.       4496.   nor]  ne  J. 
4505.   betwene  R,  J.      4507.   continue  B,  contynue  H  5. 
4509.   hastifnesse  J.      4510.   discrecid]  distressid  J. 
4512.   in  a-wait  eek]  also  in  a  wayte  R,  J. 
4516.   ]^  begins  again.    4519.   in]inaB,  R3. 

126  The  End  of  Theseus  I^bk.  i 

Thus  hath  Fortune  dirked  the  brihtnesse 
Off  al  his  nobley,  and  cast  hym  in  distresse. 

This  was  the  eende  bi  gret  contrariouste 

Off  Theseus,  afFtir  his  daies  glade,  4524 

Whan  the  fressh  flour(?s  off  old  felicite, 

Fortune  aduerse  made  hem  for  to  fade; 

Ech  thyng  mut  bowwe  whan  it  is  ouer-lade, 

Worshepis  &  honouris,  whan  thei  brihtest  shyne,   4528 

With  vnwar  chaunges  than  rathest  douw  declyne. 



The  prosperity      I  ^HE  ouseur  gladnesse,  the  loie  transitone, 

of  princes  is  ■         ^,  ° 

subject  to  M.      Ihunstable  seurnesse,  the*  transmutaciouws, 

The  cloudi  brihtnesse,  the  fals  eclipsid  glorie         4532 
Off  erthly  pryncis  which  han  possessiouns, 
Monarchies  and  dominaciouws  — 
Ther  sodeyn  chauwg  declareth  to  vs  all, 
Ther  pompous  sugre  is  meynt  with  bittir  gall.      4536 

Fortuna  can      THis  blyude  goddessc  in  hir  consistorie,* 

take  from  them  ■w-rj.-,-.':        .  ii*if 

their  crowns      With  hir  plesauwce  medlith  discenciouns, 

and  sceptres,         a  rr  •  i  i       •  • 

AiTtir  tryuwphes,  conquest  and  victone, 

Reueth  fro  pryncis  ther  sceptres  &  ther  crouns,    4540 

Troubleth  the  peeple  with  fals  rebelliouns: 

Seeth  bi  these  dukis,  which  from  her  wheel  be  fall, 

Al  worldli  sugre  is  meynt  with  bittir  gall. 

as  this  tragedy  This  tragcdic  maketh  a  memorie  *  4544 

Off  dukis  tweyne,  &  off  ther  hih  renouws; 
And  off  ther  loue  writ  a  gret  historic. 
And  how  thei  conquered  dyuers  regiouns, 
Gouerned  cites,  contres  and  eek  touns,  4548 

Til  Fortune  ther  prowesse  dede  appall. 
To  shewe  ther  sugre  was*  meynt  with  bittir  gall. 

4525.   flour  R. 

4529.   doun]  doth  R.       4530,  32.   transitoire,  gloire  B. 
4531.   the]  ther  B.      4534-   Monarchies]  &  monarchies  H. 
4537>  39'   consistoire,  victoire  B. 

4540.  fro  pryncis]  from  kyngis  R  —  2nd  ther]  the  R. 

4541.  Troubleth]  &  troublith  H. 

4542.  her]  her  R. 

4543.  bittir]  sum  R. 

4544.  46.   memoire,  histoire  B. 
4544.   a]  om.  R.      4548.   eek]  also  R. 

4550.  was]  is  B  —  menged  R  3  —  bittir]  sum  R,  J,  H  5. 

BK.  l] 

The  Danger  of  Unstable  Princes 

Pryncis,  Pryncessls,  seeth  how  deceptorie  ' 
Been  alle  these  worldii  reuoluciouns, 
And  how  Fortune  in  hir  reclynatorie, 
With  hir  triacle  tempreth  fals  poisouns: 
So  merueilous  been  hir  confecciouns, 
Off  frowardnesse  she  will,  what-so  be-fall, 
Ay  with  hir  sugre  off  custum  tempre  gall. 




Princes,  Prin- 
cesses, remem- 
ber that  For- 
tune always 
tempers  her 
sugar  with 

^  Here  Bochas  repreuyth  all  thimstabilnes  of 
Princis  &  ot)ir  persones  tat  3eve  hasti  credence 
to  euery  report  with-out  preef .  ^ 

ALTHOUH  so  be,  in  eueri  maner  age 
Folkis  be  dyuers  off  condiciouns. 
To  tume,  plie  &  chaunge  in  ther  corage,  4560 

On  outher  parti  with  sodeyn  mociouns, 
And  for  to  bowe*  bi  transmutaciouns 
With  eueri  wynd,  as  doon  thunstable  leuys, 
WTiich  hange  on  trees  in  fo testis  and  in  greuys.    4564 

But  off  alle  chaungis,  that  chaung  is  most  to  dreede, 
And  most  feerful  is  that  variaunce. 
Whan  that  pryncis,  which  may  the  peeple  leede. 
Be  founde  vnstable  in  ther  gouernaunce:  4568 

For  ther  noblesse  and  ther  hih  puissaunce 
Assureth  hem,  bi  a  maner  [of]  fourme, 
What-euer  hem  list  taccomplisshe  and  parfourme. 

To  comoun  profit  thei  may  most  auaile,   [p.  57]  4572 

Whan  thei  be  reulid  bi  wisdam  and  resoun; 

And  to  the  peeple  thei  may  most  disauaile. 

Whan  thei  lakke  wit  and  discrecioun: 

Thus  atwen  tweyne,  in  eueri  regioun,  4576 

4SSi>  53-   deceptoire,  reclynatoire  B.      4556.  wole  so  what  R. 

4557-  Ay]  Euere  R.  ^  The  heading  in  J  is  as  follows:  "Here 
Bochas  writeth  ayenst  hem  that  yeueth  hasty  credence  to 
Hers  and  flaterers,"  MS.  J.  leaf  24  recto.  The  following 
heading  is  in  R:  "In  this  capitle  Bochas  repreueth  |  And 
blameth  nat  oonly  princis  |  All  hem  that  ouerlihtly  yeueth 
credence  |  To  tuery  tale  &  fable  which  is."  In  J,  written  as 
an  ordinary  stanza:  "  In  this  Chapitle  Bochas  in  sentence  \  Re- 
preue}}  and  blamej)  not  oonly  princ/j  |  But  all  hewt  J)at  ouer- 
lightly  [gjeuej)  credence  |  To  eu^ry  tale  and  fable  whiche  is  j 
Reported  vn  to  hem  [break  in  bandzcriting']  for  sothfastnesse  | 
And  list  nothyng  do  as  it  were  dewe  |  To  prove  the  trouth 
whefre  it  be  fals  or  trewe." 

4562.   bowve  B.     4565.    This  stanza  is  marked  as  in  approval's.  ■^. 

4570.   of]  om.  R  3.  4576.   betwene  R. 

People  are 
changing  in 
their  hearts. 

but  the  worst 
change  is  when 
princes  are 

for  their  sub- 
jects are  apt 
to  follow  their 

128  The  Danger  of  Hasty  Credence  [bk.  i 

The  peeple  draweth,  who  that  can  discerne, 
To  good  or  badde,  as  pryncis  hem  gouerne. 

Princes  must     Thai  may  nat  be  to  hasti  nor  sodeyne, 
judgment  But  doon  all  thynge  bi  good  auysement,  4580 

Keepe  hem  from  tunges  that  parted  been  on  tweyne, 
Nat  be  to  rakill  to  yiue  no  iugement, 
And  off  no  folkis,  whan  thei  been  absent, 
Leue  no  talis  nor  yiue  no  credence,  4584 

Till  that  the  parti  may  come  to  audience. 

or  listen  to       Sumwhile  hath  happid,  how  that  slouh  credence 

readily.  Hasty  Hath  in  sum  cas  bc  founde  ful  noious; 

worse"than  "    But  hasti  ctedence,  I  dar  sey  in  sentence,  4588 

slowness  of       ^  thousend  fold  is  more  pereilous; 

For  onauysid  al  haste  is  odious:  '    • 

For  haste  ful  offte,  for  lakkyng  off  resoun. 

Off  moch[e]  peeple  hath  be  destruccioun.  4592 

There  is  no  damage  that  men  can  purpose, 
Mor  to  be  drad  nor  mor  lamentable. 

Nothing  indeed  Than  a  prynce  his  eris  to  onclose 

bedr°ea'ded.       To  eueti  tale  and  to  eueri  fable;  459^ 

It  is  a  tokne  ther  hertis  be  nat  stable. 
Whan  thei  to  flatereris  ther  eris  do*  applie, 
Namli  to  such  that  can  weel  forge  and  lie. 

Some  people      Folkis  be  dyuers,  suwme  fals  and  suwme  trewe,  4600 

are  false,  some    _        ,  i  •  i  i  i 

are  honourable;  In  dyuers  studies  doon  ther  besynesse; 

Summe  can  studie  to  fynde  out  talis  newe, 

And  sumwe  for  lucre  can  meyntene  weel  falsnesse 

And  holde  up  quarelis  ageyn[e]s  rihtwisnesse,        4604 

Pretendyng  trouthe  vnder  a  fals  entent 

To  hyndre  folkis  which  that  been  innocent. 

it  were  folly      Men  to  suppose  it  were  a  gret  foli, 

8houw"aU  be^    That  folkis  sholde  in  ther  oppynyoun  4608 

Speke  or  pronounce  alle  on  o  parti. 

Or  holde  o  weie  in  ther  entencioun; 

For  semblabli  as  there  is  dyuysioun 

4579.  nor!  ne  to  R. 
4584.   norj  neithir  R. 

4586.  Sumwhile]  Sumtyme  R. 

4587.  cas]  om.  R. 

4594.   norJ  ne  R.       4596.   2nd  to]  om.  R. 

4598.   ther]  thei  R  —  do]  so  B,  done  R.      4599.   forge]  om.  R. 
4600.   and]  om.  R.       4607.   to]  doe  P. 
461 1,  a  dyuysioun  R,  J,  H  s,  P. 


BK.  i]  Princes  should  he  slow  to  give  Judgment 


Off*  corages,  off  hih  or  low  degre. 
So  is  ther  treuli  a  gret  dyuersite 

In  rehersaile  or  report  off  a  thyng, 
For  to  his  parti  ech  man  is  fauourable: 
Sum  man  can  sey  weel  in  his  rehersyng, 
Sum  man  is  double,  &  sum  man  deceyuable, 
Sum  men  sey  trouthe,  and  summe  be  variable; 
Wherfore  a  prynce  off  riht,  as  it  doth  seeme, 
Sholde  weel  examyne  affom  or  that  he  deeme. 

For  there  is  noon  mor  dreedful  pestilence 
Than  a  tnnge  that  can  flatre  and  fage; 
For  with  his  cursid  crabbid  violence 
He  enfectith  folk*  off  eueri  maner  age. 
Wo  to  tunges  froward  off  ther  language, 
And  wo  to  tunges  fals,  furious  and  wood. 
Which  off  no  persone  neuer  can  sey  good. 

Bochas  rehersith,  it  is  riht  weel  sittyng 
That  eueri  man  other  do  comende, 
And  sey  the  beste  alwey  in  reportyng; 
For  in  weel-seieng  may  no  man  offende. 
Where  men  sey  weel,  God  will  his  grace  sende; 
Afftir  men  been,  men  mut  the  pris  vpreise, 
Lich  ther  meritis  allowe  hem  or  dispreise. 

But  wher  a  thyng  is  vttirli  onknowe, 
Lat  no  man  ther  been  hasti  off  sentence; 
For  rihtful  iuges  sittyng  on  a  rowe. 
Off  ther  wisdam  and  off  ther  hih  prudence 
Will  of  trouthe  haue  first  sum  euydence  — 
I  meene  such  as  gouemed  be  bi  grace  — 
Or  any  doom  forbi  ther  lippis  pace. 

A  prynce  sholde  assemble  thyngis  tweyne 
Withynwe  hymsilff:  [affom]  ful  prudently 
Shet  up  his  doomys  betwixe  lokkis  tweyne, 
On  off  the  soule,  resoun  for  that  party, 
Prudence  chose  out,  and  riht  for  the  body; 


therefore  a 
prince  ought  to 
examine  well 
before  he  de- 
4616     livers  his 


4612.  OflGInB  — ofTJinH. 

4615.   to]  om.  H.       4616.   in]  in  all  R.       4618.   seyth  R. 

4622.   flatre]  flaterie  R  —  in  red  in  margin,  MS.  J.  24  c:   no/a. 

de  falsis  Unguis. 
4624.   infectith  R  —  folkis  B,  folkes  R  3  —  maner]  om.  J. 
4626.   furious]  froward  H. 

4628.   it  is  riht  weel]  as  it  is  wele  R.       4629.   eueri]  eu^re  R. 
4631.   no  man  may  R,  J.      4641.   forth  bi  R  —  ther]  the  H. 
4643.   aflFom]om.H.      4644.   betwixt  R.      4645.  soule]  soneR. 

Vs<x  to 


4624  •>"'°?' 







Bochas  says 
we  should 
always  speak 
well  of  one 

and  where  we 
have  no  knowl- 
edge, we 
should  be 
slow  to 

A  prince  should 
always  decide 
according  to 
reason  and 
right,  and  take 
truth  and  con- 
science to 

130  Theseus*  Impatience  caused  his  Son's  Death        [bk.  i 

And  atween  bothe,  or  he  yiue  a  sentence, 

To  couwsell  calle  trouthe  and  good  conscience.      4648 

He  should  first  First  to  consldre  with  eueri  circuwstauwce, 
whether  the      DilHgentH  doon  theron  his  labour, 
honestiyr*^"  *  Off  discteciouw  to  take  the  ballauwce. 

And  first  weie  out  who  is  thaccusour,  4652 

And  whethir  that  he  for  falsnesse  or  fauour 

In  his  processe  list  for  to  proceede; 

Heroff  a  prynce  must  off  riht  take  heede. 

and  if  he  u  a    He  muste  also  considre  bi  and  bi,         [p.  58]         4656 

friend  or  enemy  __.,  ,  ,        .  i  •    i     •  i  •  i 

of  the  accused   What  that  he  IS,  which  IS  to  hym  accusid, 
^^o^bad"    And  whethir  thaccusour  be  freend  or  enmy, 
report.  q^.  ^j^g^-i^ji.  j^g  g\^^\  \)QQn  acceptc*  or  refusid 

In  his  accus  —  this  muste  afFor  be  musid  —         4660 
And  whethir  he  be,  bi  report  off  his  name, 
A  man  weel  noised  or  sclaundrid  bi  diffame. 

If  Theseus  had  Yiff  Theseus  hadde  be  thus  auysed, 

done  this,  he.,  •  i        t      rr  i 

would  not  have  And  considred  oit  resoun  the  maner,  4664 

caused  his  son's  tt      i       i  j  ^  l        ^'l'    J  J 

death;  He  hadde  nat  so  hastih  deuysed 

His  sonys  deth,  lich  as  ye  shal  ler: 

For  yiff  ther  hadde  assemblid  been  I-feer 

In  his  persone  prudence  and  resoun,  4668 

He  sholde  ha[ue]  seyn  in  his  discreciouw, 

Be  knowlechyng  off  long  experience, 

Off  his  wiff  the  gret  onstedfastnesse, 
Mysrwom°e''nare  Which  thotuh  hir  froward  compassid  eloquence   4672 
born  liars  and    \Yas  redi  cuere  to  brynge  folk  in  distresse, 

sometimes  t£iltC 

too  much.        As  in  his  writyng  Bochas  berth  witnesse. 
Off  ther  nature  women  can  flatre  and  fage, 
And  been  sumwhile  to  copious  off  language.  4676 

Also  off  wisdam,  this  duk  Theseus 

Shold  ha[u]e  considred  afforn  in  his  entent, 

How  that  his  sone,  callid  Ypolitus, 

4647.   bitwene  hem  both  R. 

4650.   And  diligently  R  —  theron]  ther  R.  .    4654.   for]  om.  R. 

4659.  he"]  that  he  R  —  accept]  acceptid   B  and  other  MSS. 
except  H  5  which  has  accepte. 

4660.  accus]  actis  J,  H  5  —  this]  he  P,  thus  H  5. 
4663.   thus  had  been  J,  R,  H  5. 

4672.   hir]  his  R.      4673.  inJtoR. 

4676.  sum  tyme  R  —  to  copious  off]  copioMJ  of  ther  R. 

4677.  this]  om.  R. 

BK.  i]        Theseus  ought  to  have  known  his  Son  better 


OflF  al  onclennesse  was  founde  ay  innocent;  4680 

And  how  that  he  off  custum  made  his  went 

Into  forestis  duryng  his  yong  age, 

To  hunte  at  beestis  which  that  were  sauage. 

Rennyng  on  foote,  as  ye  shal  vndirstonde,  4684 

On  hillis,  valis  teschewen  idilnesse, 
Mooder  off  vicis,  with  his  bowe  in  honde, 
Diane  to  serue  off  huntyng  cheeff  goddesse. 
Suwtyme  to  hauke  he  dede  his  besynesse;  4688 

Eek  onto  fisshyng  he  gretly  was  applied, 
So  that  his  youthe  was  neuer  onocupied. 

Thus  he  lyiied  in  wodis  solitarie, 

And  off  Venus  despised  the  seruyse;  4692 

A-mong[es]  women  he  wolde  neuer  tarie, 

Ther  felashipp  he  dede  alwey  despise: 

For  he  dempte,  be  sentence  off  the  wise. 

Who  touchith  pich,  bassay  men  may  see,*  4696 

It  failith  nat  he  shal  defouled  be. 

Ypolitus  sauh  weel  this  thyng  afforn, 

Kept  hym  at  large  from  such  contrariouste; 

His  greene  youthe  he  wolde  nat  haue  it  lorn,        4700 

To  be  diffoulid  for  lak  off  chastite: 

For  he  lyued  euer  in  virgynyte, 

And  neuer  dede,  Bochas  wil  nat  varie, 

Nothyng  that  was  onto  God  contrarie.  4704 

Thus  off  entent  he  kepte  his  bodi  cleene 

Duryng  his  liff,  bothe  in  thouht  &  deede, 

Whos  mooder  was  Ypolita  the  queene 

Off  Amazones,  in  Ouyde  ye  may  reede.  4708 

But,  o  alias,  that  Theseus  took  heede. 

For  a  tale  off  Phedra  ful  off  gile, 

Withoute  gilt  his  sone  to  exile. 

Afftir  whos  deth[e],  summe  poetis  seyn,  4712 

How  that  Diana,  for  his  chastite, 

Restorid  hym  onto  lyue  ageyn 

Bi  Esculapius,  and  gaff  hym  liberte 

In  hir  forestis  to  hunten  and  go  fre.  4716 

4680.   ay]  euer  R.       4686.   in]  on  H,  J,  H  £. 

4689.   Eek]  Also  R  —  gretly  he  was  R.      4692.    dispised  R. 

4694.   alwey]  evir  H,  euer  P,  euer  R  3. 

4696.  Who]  Who  so  R,  J  —  see]  weel  see  B  —  In  MS.  J.  in  red 

in  margin:   Qui  tangit  picem  &c. 
4698.' seeh  R  —  befome  H.      4707.   was]  om    H. 

Theseus  shonld 
have  remem- 
bered that  his 
son  was  a 

who  despised 

the  society  of 

and  always  re- 
mained chaste. 

His  mother 
was  Hippolyte; 

and  after  his 
death  Diana 
restored  him 
to  life  and 
gave  him  leave 
to  hunt  in  her 
forests  forever. 

132  Bochas  exclaims  against  Women 

For  which  restoryng,  as  writ  Ouidius, 
As  twies  a  man,  men  callid  hym  Virbius. 

[bk.  I 

Bochas  here 
makes  a  great 
outcry  against 
women  and 
says  that  they 
are  deceitful  by 
nature  and  like 
insatiable  beasts. 

Heer  Bochas  makith  an  exclamacion  a-geyn  the 
pride  of  vommen  And  thonseumes  of  princes. 

UT  Bochaj  heer,  I  not  what  he  doth  meene, 


Maketh  in  his  book  an  exclamacioun 
Ageyn[e]s  women,  that  pite  is  to  scene  — 
Seith  how  ther  lyne,  ther  generacioun 
Been  off  nature  double  off  condiciouw, 
And  calhth  hem  eek  dyuers  and  onstable, 
Beestis  rassemblyng  that  been  insaciable. 

Of  course  he     He  meneth  off  women  that  be  born  in  Crete, 

means  only  the  -^-r      1  rr  1  1  i       11      •         1  • 

women  of  Crete, JNothyng  oiT  hem  that  duelle  m  this  centre: 
oTthis  TOunto'  For  women  heer,  al  doubilnesse  thei  lete, 

are  very  differ-  ^^j   ^^^^^^  ^^  ^^^^  off  mUtabihte, 

Thei  loue  no  chauwgis  nor  no  duplicite; 
For  ther  husbondis,  in  causis  smal  or  grete, 
What-euer  thei  seyn,  thei  can  nat  couwtirplete. 





be  God,  who 
made  them  so 
humble  and 
patient.     I 
don't  mean 
one,  but  all, 
as  their  hus- 
bands can 

Blessid  be  God,  that  hath  hem  maad  so  meek,  [p.  59] 

So  humble  and  feithful  off  ther  condiciouws; 

For  thouh  men  wolde  cause*  and  mater  seek 

Ageyn  ther  pacience  to  fynde  occasiouns,  4736 

Thei  han  refusid  al  contradicciouws. 

And  hem  submittid  thoruh  ther  gouernauwce, 

Onli  to  meeknesse  and  womanli  suffrauwce. 

I  speke  off  alle,  I  speke  nat  off  on. 

That  be  professid  onto  lowlynesse; 

Thei  may  ha[ue]  mouthes,  but  language  ha[ue]  thei  non 

Alle  trewe  husbondis  can  bern  heroff  witnesse; 

For  weddid  men,  I  dar  riht  weel  expresse. 

That  haue  assaied  and  had  experience, 

Best  can  recorde  off  wifli  pacience. 



4718.   callid]  call  R  —  between  this  line  and  the  next  the  following 
note  in  red,  MS   J.  25  a:   "Nota  de  transformatis  i  bis  vii." 
4722.   Seith]  Seeth  H  —  2nd  ther]  the  H.     4724.   eek]  also  R. 
4726.   women]  them  H.       4727.    hem  that  is  muddled  in  R. 
4729.   tech]  tache  R.       4734.   feithful]  feerdful  R. 
4735.   cause]  causes  B,  R  3  P,  H  —  mateers  H. 

4743.  heroff]  \>er  of  R. 

4744.  riht]  ful  R. 

BK.  l] 

Bocbas  on  Human  Nature 


For  as  it  longeth  to  men  to  be  sturdy. 

And  sumwhat  froward  as  off  ther  nature,  4748 

Riht  so  can  women  suffre  paciently. 

And  alle  wrongis  humbl[el]i  endure. 

Men  sholde  attempte  no  maner  creature, 

A[nd]  namli  women,  ther  meeknesse  for  to  preue,  4752 

Which  may  weel  suffre  whil  no  man  doth  hew  greue. 

Eueri  thyng  resortith  to  his  kynde, 

As  Bochas  writith,  sum  tyme  off  the  yeer; 

And  yit,  who  serchith,  hi  processe  he  shal  fynde  4756 

That  trouthe  and  vertu  may  neuer  fade  off  cheer: 

For  rihtwisnesse  will  alwey  shyne  cleer; 

Trouthe  &  falsnesse,  in  what  thei  ha[ue]  to  doone, 

Thei  may  no  while  assemble  in  o  persone.  4760 

Feith  and  flatrie,  thei  be  so  contrarie, 

Thei  may  togidre  holde  no  soiour; 

Nor  symplesse,  which  that  can  nat  varie. 

May  neuer  accorde  with  a  baratour,  4764 

Nor  innocence  with  a  losengour, 

Nor  chastite  can  nat  hirsilff  applie 

Hir  to  confottrme  onto  [no]  ribaudie. 

Crafft  and  nature  sue  the  professioun  4-68 

Bi  thordynaunce  set  in  ther  courage; 

And  ech  man  folweth  his  condicioun. 

As  off  the  stok  the  frut  hath  his  tarage: 

Pilgrymes  may  gon  ful  ferr  in  ther  passage,  4772 

But  I  dar  seyn,  how  ferr  that  euer  thei  go, 

Ther  bit  sum  tarage  off  that  that  thei  caw  fro. 

Bochas  maketh  an  introduccioun 

In  this  chapitle,  off  the  hih  noblesse  4776 

That  pryncis  han  in  ther  possessioun; 

And  bi  a  maner  lawhhyng  doth  expresse,  ' 

How  for  to  sette  hem  in  gret  sekimesse. 

lot,  unlike 
men,  they 
suffer  all 
wroogs  ia 

Truth  and 
falseness  are 
never  found 
together  ia  one 

or  good  faith 
and  flatterj'. 
simplicity  in  a 
boaster  or 
chastity  ia  a 

Each  man  lives 
according  to 
his  character. 

Bochas  laughs 
at  those 
princes  who 
have  sergeants 
waiting  upon 
them  and 

4747-  it]  om.  R.      4750.  humbileth  R. 

47S3.  doth]  do  P,  H  5. 

4755.  as  write  Boch.    H. 

4759-  &]  om.  R.      4761.   so]  om.  R. 

4762.  may  not  R  —  no]  om.  R.       4763,  65.   Nor]  Neithir  R. 

4768.  MS.  J.  25  b  ir.  red  between  the  lines:  "Ars  mutat  naturam. 

4771.  his]  the  R.      4774.   2nd  that]  om.  R. 

4775.  Bochas  maketh]  Makith  here  bochas  R. 

4776.  the]  om.  R. 

4778.  lawhhyng]  louthyng  R  —  doth]  om.  H. 

134  ^^^  Suspicion  and  Dread  of  Lords  []bk.  i 

Thei  han  sergauntis  vpon  hem  abidyng,  4780 

And  men  ofF  armys  day  and  nyht  waityng. 

to  keep  people  That  no  man  entre,  but  yifF  he  ha[ue]  licence, 

from  approach-   _,,        f  ^  •  i  i 

ing  them.  1  he  irowatd  portens  stondyng  at  the  gate 

Putte  men  a-bak  be  sturdi  violence;  4784 

It  were  ful  hard  ageyn  hem  to  debate, 

Ther  wachchis  kept  erli  and  eek  late; 

And  hem  tassure  a-nyhtis  whil  thei  slepe. 

The  chauwberleyns  ther  dorys  streihtli  keepe.      4788 

They  are         Men  assigned  ther  metis  to  assaie, 

watched  _-,  ^,  i-  i 

oyer  day  and  To  taste  thct  wyncs,  list  thet  were  tresouw; 
anwNh'^ir^'^  ^uch  mortal  dreed  these  lordis  doth  afFraie; 
i^'^ta^s"fd''for^  So  is  thet  seurnesse  meynt  with  suspeciouw:  4792 

in^'S'skron'lrdWho  fedith  hym  gladli,  that  ferith  hym  ofFpoisoun? 
^e".  But  pore  folk  frauwchised  from  such  dreed, 

[With]  such  as  God  sent  meryly*  thei  hem  feed. 

Poor  people  are  But  poetis  that  Write  tragedies,  4796 

d7e*ad'°  The      Ther  compleynyng  is  al  off  hih  estatis, 
ha^ve"ka"t"peace  Rehersyng  euer  ther  pitous  iuparties, 
of  mind.  Ther  sodeyn  chauwgis  &  ther  woful  fatis, 

Ther  dyuysiouws  and  ther  mortal  debatis,  4800 

And  ay  conclude  ther  dites,  who  can  reede, 
Hiest  estatis  stonde  ay  most  in  dreede. 

Of  all  this        And  ground  &  roote  off  al  this  mortal  trouble, 
tere'rs^are  the    As  Writ  Bochas  and  plcynli  berth  witnesse,  4804 

oral!  is°the°r'  Been  these  lieres  with  ther  tunges  double, 
whaHhty'sIy.  Themsilff  afforcyng  ay  trouthe  to  oppresse; 
With  whom  flatrie  is  a  cheefF  maistresse: 
And,  werst  off  all,  to  ther  dreedful  sentence,         4808 
Is  whan  pryncis  been  hasti  off  credence. 

Hasty  credence  Hasti  ctcdence  is  roote  off  al  errour, 

is  the  source  of.-  ,  irriJ  '1 

great  sorrow.     A  froward  stepmooder  orr  al  good  counsail. 

Ground  ofFgret  hyndryng,  a  dreedful  deceyuour,  4812 

4780.  sergauntls3  s^ruauntis  R,  J,  H  5. 

4781.  waityng]  awaityng  H,  R,  P,  H  5. 

4782.  entre]  may  entre  R.       4786.   eek]  also  R. 
4787.  a-nyhtis]  on  nyhtis  R  —  whil]  whan  R. 
4790.  wynes  is  altered  into  wyfFes  R. 

479c.   With]  om.  R,  J,  H  S  —  sent]  hem  sent  R,  J,  them  sent 

H  5  —  meryly]  with  merthe  (mirthe)  B,  J,  R,  H  5. 
4798.    Rehersyng]  Rewerdyng  R. 
4800.   2nd  ther]  om.  H.      4801.   ay]  eu^r  R. 
4806.   afforcyng]  ay  forshyng  R. 

BK.  0 

An  Envoy  on  Hasty  Judgment 

Fair  ofFte  off  face,  with  a  ful  pereilous  tail, 
Gladli  concludyng  with  ful  gret  disauail, 
Next  neyh[e]bour  onto  repentaunce 
To  all  that  truste  &  haue  in  hir  plesaunce. 



fl  Lenvoye. 

PRYNCIS,  considreth,  how  in  eueri  age        [p.  60] 
Folkis  be  dyuers  off  ther  condicioun 
To  plie  &  tume  &  chaunge  in  ther  corage; 
Yit  is  ther  non,  to  myn  opynyoun,  4820 

So  dreedful  chaung  nor  transmutacioun. 
As  chaung  off  pryncis  to  yiue  a  iugement. 
Or  hasti  credence,  withoute  auisement. 

It  is  weel  founde  a  passyng  gret  damage, 

Knowe  and  expert  in  eueri  regioun, 

Thouh  a  tale  haue  a  fair  visage. 

It  may  include  ful  gret  decepcioun: 

Hid  vndir  sugre,  galle  and  fell  poisoun,  4828 

With  a  fresh  face  off  double  entendement  — 

Yit  yiueth  no  credence  withoute  auisement. 

Let  folkis  alle  be  war  off  ther  language. 

Keep  ther  tunges  from  oblocucioun,  4832 

To  hyndre  or  hurte  bi  no  maner  outrage, 

Preserue  ther  lippis  from  al  detraccioun. 

Fro  chaumpartie  and  contradiccioun; 

For  list  that  fraude  wer  founde  in  ther  entent,     4836 

Ne  yiueth  no  credence  withoute  auisement. 

Pryncis,  Pryncessis,  off  noble  and  hih  parage, 

Which  ha[ue]  lordshipe  and  domynacioun, 

Voide  hem  a-side,  that  can  flatre  and  fage;  4840 

Fro  tunges  that  haue  a  tarage  off  tresoun, 

Stoppith  your  eris  from  ther  bittir  soun; 

Beth  circumspect,  nat  hasti  but  prudent. 

And  yiueth  no  credence  withoute  auisement.        4844 

Princes,  the 
most  dreadful 
thing  you  can 
do  is  to 
deliver  a  hasty 

Q         A  story  may 
4024    look  well,  yet 
be  wholly  false. 

Beware  of 
speaking  ill  of 

and  above  all 
avoid  liars  and 

4813.   offte^  owi.  R  —  ful]  om.  R.      4814.   disseivaile  R. 

4817.   Pryncessis  considre  R. 

4819.   &  chaunge  in  ther]  in  ther  &  chaunge  R. 

4821.   nor]  ne  R.       4822.   a]  om.  R.      4829.   entendent  R. 

4830.   yiueth]  yeue  R. 

4832.   allocucion  R.      4833.   maner  of  R. 

4838.   parage]  Corage  H. 

136  The  Story  of  Althcea  and  Meleager  [bk.  i 

[Oflf  Quene  Althea,  and  how  Hercules  by  women 
was  brouht  to  confusioun.]  ^ 

Bochas  turning  T  T /"HAN  Bochflj  haddc  shewed  his  sentence, 

again  to  those        ■  /  *  /  ' 


who  had  been       ▼  T      And  declared  his  opynyoun 
Fortune,  Gcyn  hem  that  wer[e]n  hasti  off  credence, 

He  gan  anon  make  a  digressioun  4848 

Fro  that  mater,  and  off  entencioun 
To  serche  out  mo,  his  purpos  to  contune,* 
That  were  doun  cast  &  hyndred  hi  Fortune. 
saw  among  a     And,  as  he  thouhte,  he  sauh  a  cuwpanye  48'?2 

large  company     ^  l   •  i   •    i  i  11 

of  worthies       utt  many  worthi,  which  to  hym  dede  appeere; 

Queen  Althaea       aj  iir^iii 

weeping,  with    And  a-mong  alle  hrst  he  dede  espie 

ordered  hair!"     Quecn  Althea,  as  she  gan  neihhe  hym  neere, 

Al  bedewed  hir  face  and  eek  hir  cheere  4856 

With  salt[e]  teris,  that  pite  was  to  seene. 
Which  whilom  was  off  Calidonye*  the  queene. 
She  was  the  douhter  off  kyng  Testius, 
Weddid  to  Oene  off  CaHdoyne*  kyng,  4860 

Off  cheer  and  face  apperyng  ful  pitous, 
^atgetbiick'    Hir  her  to-torn  and  frowardli  liggyng; 
gown.  ^j^j  jj^  tokne  also  off  compleynyng. 

As  writ  Bochas,  wheroff  he  took  [good]  heed,        4864 
Blak  was  hir  habite,  and  al  to-rent  hir  weed. 
A  sone  she  hadde,  Mell[e]ager  he  hihte; 
^HedMefeage",  I"  ctthe  was  ther  non  fairere  for  to  see, 
Hrlh^ the' Fates  ^^^^  wccl  fauouted  in  eueri  manys  sihte;  4868 

pst  a  brand     And,  as  I  fynde,  at  his  natyuite 
and  said  that    Present  wern  the  Fatal  Sustren  thre 
consumed  the    With  thet  rokkc,  and  gan  to  spynwe  faste, 

child  would  die.    ^^ J  ^^^y.  ^  j^j.^^ J   ^^  J  jj^^.^  gj.  j^  ^^^^^  ^g^^ 

And  in  that  hour  this  was  her  language: 

"Touchyng  this  child,  we  ful  accorded  be, 

And  han  disposid  the  terme  eek  off  his  age, 

4847.  Geyn^  Ayens  R.       4850.   contune]  contynue  B. 

4852.  he  sauh]  hym  seeh  R. 

4856.  bedewed]  be  wepid  R  —  eek]  also  R. 

4857.  was]  is  H. 

4858.  whilom]  sum  tyme  R  —  Calidonye]  Calcidonye  B,  H  5, 
Calcydonye  J,  Calcidon  R  3  —  the]  om.  H. 

4859.  Thestius  P. 

4860.  Calidoyne]  Calcidoyne  B,  Calcydonye  J,  Calcidonye  H  5. 
4864.   he]  I  H.       4866.   Melliager  R,  Mellager  H,  R  3. 
4871.   roicke  and  gan]  rokkis  and  bigan  R. 

4873.   in]  into  R. 

4875.   the  terme  eek]  also  the  terme  R. 
1  MS,  J.  leaf  25  verso. 

BK.  i} 

MeUager  kills  a  Savage  Boar 




The  space  concludid  off  his  destyne. 
As  long[e]  tymp,  who-so  list  to  see, 
Til  this  brond  among  the  coles  rede 
Be  ful  consumed  into  asshes  dede." 

But  whan  Althea  espied  ther  entente, 
And  conseyued  the  fyn  off  ther  sentence, 
She  ros  hire  up,  and  the  brond  she  hente 
Out  off  the  fir  with  gret  dilligence, 
Queynt  anon  the  fires  violence; 
The  doom  off  Parcas  she  gan  thus  disobeie. 
The  brond  reseruyng  vnder  lok  and  keie. 

Touchyng  the  fader  off  this  Mell[e]ager, 

Oeneus,  off  hym  thus  I  reede, 

How  he  wente  and  souhte  nyh  and  fer 

Goddis  and  goddessis,  who-so  list  take  heede, 

In  hope  onli  for  to  ha[ue]  gret  meede; 

For  to  hem  alle,  poetis  thus  deuise, 

Sauf  to  Diana,  he  dede  sacrefise. 

Wheroff  she  cauhte  an  indignacioun; 

Caste  she  wolde  on  hym  auengid  be; 

Sente  a  boor  into  his  regioun, 

Ful  sauage  and  ful  off  cruelte. 

Which  deuoured  the  frut  off  many  a  tre 

And  destroied  his  cornys  and  his  vynes. 

That  such  scarsete  off  vitaile  and  off  wynes 

Was  in  his  land  vpon  euery  side. 

That  the  peeple  off  necessite 

Compellid  wem  a-mong  hem  to  prouide 

Sum  mene  weie  to  saue  ther  contre. 

And  at  the  laste  thei  condescendid  be. 

That  Mell[e]ager,  lusti  off  his  corage, 

Shold  chese  with  hym  folk  fresh  &  yong  off  age. 

This  dreedful  boor  myhtili  tenchace.  4908 

And  foorth  thei  wente,  echon  deuoid  off  dreed, 

With  rounde  speris  thei  gan  hym  to  manace. 

But  Mell[e]ager  made  first  his  sides  red, 

And  with  a  suerd[e]  than«e  smet  off  his  hed;        4912 

4879.  aspiede  R. 

4882.  hire]  om.  R,  J,  H  5. 

4888.  Oneus  H.       4889]  How  that  he  souht  nyh  &  fer  R. 

4899.  distried  R.      4900.   vitailes  R.       4903.   hem]  om.  R. 

4905.  thei]  the  R.      4906.   his]  om.  R.      4907.   fressh  folkis  R. 

4910.  began  R.      4911.   red]  bleede  H. 

But  AJthia 
extinguished  the 
flame  and  put 
the  brand 
away  under  lock 
and  key. 


father,  CEneus, 
in  hope  of 
reward  made 
offerings  to  all 
the  gods  and 
goddesses  ex- 
cept Diana,  who 
in  anger  sent  a 
J,         boar  to  devas- 
4092   tajj  his  Land, 


[p.  61] 

which  was  killed 
by  Nfdeager. 


Meleager  slays  his  Two  Uncles 


WherofF  the  centre  was  ful  glad  &  fayn. 
And  in  this  wise  the  tusshi  boor  was  slayn. 

Some  books      SuTnmc  boolcis  telle  ofF  this  huntyng, 

say  that  Ata-      _,,  i      i  •         i  •    i  i  •        \ 

lanta  wounded   1  hat  a  ladi,  which  was  born  m  Arge,  4916 

with  a" arrow,  CalHd  Athalanta,  doubter  to  the  kyng, 
To  sle  this  boor  took  on  hire  the  charge, 
And  with  an  arwe  made  his  wounde  large. 
Eek  in  Guide  lik  as  it  is  fouwde,  4920 

Because  that  she  gafF  the  firste  wounde, 

and  Meleager,    Mell[e]ager  anon  for  a  memorie, 
knight,  gave     As  he  that  was  hir  owne  chose  knyht, 
and'when\is    Gaff  hir  the  bed  in  tokne  off  this  victorie.  4924 

TiromZXy  But  his  tweyne  vncles,  ageyn  al  skile  &  ribt, 
them. ''" ''""    Rafft  hir  the  bed,  off  verray  force  &  myht, 
Hauyng  despiht  that  she,  in  ther  auys. 
Off  this  victorie  sholde  here  awey  the  prys.  4928 

With  which  iniurie  Mell[e]ager  was  wroth, 

And  ageyn  hem  proudli  gan  disdeyne; 

Pullith  out  a  suerd  and  vpon  hem  he  goth, 

And  thorub  his  manhod  slouh  his  vncles  tweyne,  4932 

And  afftir  that  dede  his  besi  peyne 

To  take  the  bed,  and  with  ful  bumble  entente. 

To  Athalante  ageyn  it  to  presente. 

On  off  his  vncles  was  callid  Flexippus,  4936 

A  manli  knyht,  and  but  yong  off  age; 

The  totber  brother  named  Thesyus. 

But  whan  ther  suster  herde  off  this  outrage, 

How  thei  were  slayn,  she  gan  in  hir  visage  4940 

Wexe  ded  [&]  pale,  alias,  for  lak  off  blood, 

Whan  she  espied  the  cause  bow  it  stood. 

She  badde  no  mater,  God  wot,  to  be  fayn, 

Queen  Althea,  to  stonden  and  beholde  4944 

Hir  bretbre  tweyne  off  hir  sone  slayn 

At  the  huntyng,  off  which  toforn  I  tolde. 

First  thyngis  too  she  gan  peise  &  onfolde: 

When  Althaea 
heard  of  this 
she  grew  pale 

and  began  to 
consider  the 
love  she  bore 
her  brothers  and 
her  son's  hasty 

tusshi]  tuskye  R,  tusky  J. 

Suwme]  And  some  H,  P,  And  som  R  3. 

woundis  R.       4920.   Eek]  Also  R. 

RafFt]  berauht  H.       4927.   ther]  his  R. 

bigan  R.       4931.   PuUid  R.       4932.   he  slouh  R. 

callid]  namyd  H.       4937-   and]  om.  R. 
4938.  Theseus  H,  R.      4942.   aspied  R. 
4944.  to]  sto  R  (*/ttn</.ff  o/j-m*^).      4947.  too]  tweyne  R. 



BK.  l] 

Althaas  Indecision 


Off  hir  brethre  the  loue  and  nyh  kenrede,  4948 

And  off  hir  sone  the  hasti  cruel  deede. 

And  remembryng,  she  castith  in  ballaunce, 

Off  hertli  wo  that  she  dede  endure, 

Thouhte  yiff  she  dede  vpon  ther  deth  vengauwce,  4952 

To  slen  hir  sone  it  were  ageyn  nature. 

Thus  in  a  weer  longe  [time]  she  dede  endure, 

Hir  dedli  sorwe  peisyng  eueri^eel, 

Whethir  she*  shal  be  tendre  or  cruel.  4956 

Thus  tendre,  I  meene,  hir  sone  for  to  spare. 

Or  punshe  the  deth  off  hir  brethre  tweyne. 

Thus  counfortles,  al  destitut  and  bare. 

In  langwisshyng  shendureth  foorth  hir  peyne;      4960 

And  remedie  can  she  non  ordeyne, 

Sauf  fayn  she  wolde  auenge  hir,  yiff  she  may. 

But  thanne  cam  nature  foorth  and  seide  nay. 

It  was  hir  sone,  a-geyn  al  kyndli  riht  4964 

On  whom  she  caste  auenged  for  to  be: 

To  women  alle  an  ougli  straunge  siht. 

That  a  mooder,  deuoid  off  al  pite, 

Sholde  slen  hir  child  so  merciles  parde.  4968 

Nay  nay,  nat  so,  nature  wil  nat  assente; 

For  yiff  she  dede,  ful  sore  she  shal  repente. 

But  O  alias,  al  fatal  purueiaunce 

Kepith  his  cours,  as  summe  clerkis  seyn;  4972 

But  the  writyng  off  doctours,  in  substaunce. 

And  these  dyuynes  replie  ther  ageyn, 

And  afferme  thoppynyoun  is  in  veyn 

Off  hem  that  truste  on  fate  or  destyne:  4976 

For  God  aboue  hath  the  souereynte. 

And  off  Fortune  the  power  may  restrejoie, 

To  saue  and  spille  lik  as  folk  disserue; 

Ageyn  his  will  thai  may  nothyng  ordeyne  4980 

Off  necessite,  what  cours  that  thei  conserue. 

But  this  mateer  al  hooli  I  reserue 

It  were  against 
nature  to  slay 
her  Km; 

yet  the  murder 
of  his  uncles 
must  be 

Without  com- 
fort she 

but  Fate  must 
take  its  coarse 

(although  not 
against  God's 

495 1,  indure  H. 

4954.  she  dyd   long  while  endure   R  (in  later  band)  —  time] 

om.  R  3. 

4956.  she]  that  she  B,  R  3.      4960.   foorth]  for  R. 

4961.  non]  noon  othir  H,  none  other  P. 

4963.  forth  nature  R  —  foorth]  ageyn  H.       4970.   shal]  did  R. 

497S-  And]  om.  H.      4976.   on]  of  H  —  destanye  R. 

4981.  that]  om.  R. 


Althcea  casts  the  Brand  into  the  Fire 



Onto  deuynys  to  termyne  and  conclude, 

Which  apparteneth  to*  no  folkis  rude.  4984 

«nd  Althaea,      But  Althca,  ofF  Calidoync*  queen,  [p.  62] 

suddenly  moved  -^  i   i  •  i      ii  n  j 

to  wrath,  Gan  soFC  ttiusc,  and  heeng  in  a  ballaunce: 

Hir  brethre  ded,  whan  she  dede  hem  seen, 
Thanwe  was  she  meued  anon  to  do  vengauwce 
Vpon  hir  sone  bi  ful  gret  displesaunce; 
But  as  poetis  list  for  to  compile, 
Nature  made  hire  withdrawe  hir  hand  a  while 

Thus  atwen  ire  and  twen  afFeccioun 

She  heeld  hir  longe,  on  nouther  parti  stable, 

Till  that  she  cauhte  in  hir  opynyouw 

A  sodeyn  rancour,  which  made  hire  be  vengable; 

And  hasti  wrathe,*  which  is  nat  comendable,        4996 

Ageyn  hir  sone,  maad  hire  with  hir  bond 

Out  off  hire  chest  to  take  the  fatal  brond. 

cast  the  brand  And  sodcnli  she  cast  it  in  the  fir, 

into  the  nre.         a       i  i  i  i  i 

And  wex  cruel,  ageyn  al  womanheede,  5000 

To  execute  hir  venymous  desir. 

The  fatal  brond  among  the  flawmys  rede 

Consumed  was  into  asshes  dede; 

And  furiously  in  hir  malencolie,  5004 

The  vengaunce  doon,  thus  she  gan  to  crie: 

"O  ye  Parchas,  froward  sustre  thre, 

Which  off  loue  keepe  the  librarie, 

And  off  childre  at  ther  natyuyte  5008 

Waite  his  sentence,  which  [that]  may  nat  varie, 

Wherso  it  be  welful  or  contrarie, 

Vpon  his  doomys  takyng  alway  heed. 

How  that  ye  shal  dispose  the  fatal  threed.  5012 

Thou  Cloto  first  takest*  thi  rokke  on  honde. 
And  Lachesis*  afFtir  doth  begynwe, 

4983.  determyne  R. 

4984.  apparteneth^  nat  parteneth  B,  R,  J,  H  5  —  to3  onto  B, 
R,  H  5  —  no]  om.  R,  J,  H  5. 

4985.  Calidoync]  Calcidoyne  B,  Calidonye  R. 

4986.  Bigan  R  —  a]  om.  R.       4987.   seen]  se  H. 
4992.  atwen]  bitwene  R  —  twen]  betwene  R. 
4996.  wraththe  B  —  is  nat]  ne  is  R. 
5002.  flawmys]  colis  R.       5006.   sustren  R,  H. 
5008.  children  R.       5009.   Waite  his]  Awayten  the  R. 

5013.  first]  om.  R,  J,  H  5  —  takest]  cast  B,  H  {scribal  blunder 
for  tast),  take  R,  takith  R  3  —  on]  in  R. 

5014.  Lachesis]  Lathesis  B,  R,  J  {a  slip  of  pen  merely,  c  and 
are  often  scarcely  distinguishable). 

thus  taken, 
she  cried 
aloud  to  the 
Parcae,  Clotho, 
Lachesis,  and 

BK.  i} 

The  Death  of  Althaa 


Bi  gret  auys,  who  can  vndirstonde. 

The  threed  on  lengthe  to  drawen  &  to  spynne;     5016 

But  whan  the  sperit  shal  fro  the  bodi  twynne, 

Thou  Attropos  doost  thi  cruel  peyne 

Ful  frowardli  to  parte  the  threed  on  tweyne. 

I  may  weel  pleyne  on  such  departisoun,  5020 

Nat  for  a  day,  but,  o  alias,  for  euere! 

Ye  han  ontwynyd  and  maad  dyuysioun 

Off  my  too  brethre,  [and]  causid  hem  disseuere. 

That  heer  a-lyue  I  shal  seen  hem  neuere.  5024 

And  I  off  haste,  alias,  whi  dede  I  so! 

Tauenge  ther  deth  ha[ue]  slayn  my  sone  also. 

0  ye  thre  douhtren  off  Herberus  the  felle, 

Whos  ougli  mooder  was  the  blake  nyht,  5028 

Al  your  kynreede  and  lynage  lith  in  helle; 
And  for  tauenge  the  wrong  and  gret  onriht 
Which  that  I  haue  accomplisshid  in  your  siht, 

1  will  with  you  perpetueli  compleyne,  5032 
Lich  my  desert  endure  sorwe  &  peyne!" 

And  whil  she  gan  thus  with  hirself[e]  stryue 
Vpon  hir  sorwes,  that  were  eend[e]les. 
She  made  a  suerd  thoruhout  hir  h<frte  ryue,  5036 

Off  hir  liff  heer  she  was  to  rech[e]les. 

AND  Bochas  affter,  amonges  al  the  pres, 
Sauh,  as  hym  thouhte,  with  a  ful  hidous  cheer, 
Ded  off  visage,  Hercules  appeere,  5040 

Whos  fader  was  lubiter  the  grete, 

His  mooder  doubter  off  kyng  Amphitrion, 

Callid  Alcumena,  whilom  born  in  Crete. 

And  as  poetis  rehersyn  oon  bi  oon,  5044 

So  excellent  was  ther  neuer  noon. 

"You  have 
killed  my  two 
brothers,  and, 
alas,  now  I 
have  slain  my 
son  to  avenge 
their  death.     I 
will  complain 
with  you  for- 

Whereupon  she 
thrust  a  sword 
through  her 

Hercules,  son 
of  Jupiter  and 
Alcmene,  most 
famous  of  men, 
next  apTCared 
before  Bochas. 

5015.  who  SO  R.      5016.   on^ofR. 

5018.  Antropos  R,  J,  H  5,  Antrapos  R  3.       5019.   on]  or  R. 

5020.   on]  in  R,  J,  of  R  3  —  departicioun  H,  H  5,  departicion  R,  P. 

5023.  brethern  J  —  and]  om.  H. 

5024 .  heer]  he  R  —  on  lyue  R. 

5027.   Cerebus  R,  J,  H  5,  Herebus  H,  Erebus  P  —  thre]  om.  J. 
5029.  Al]  And  R  —  &  al  your  lynage  hih  R.  ♦ 

5034.    Large  capital  in  B  —  she  gan]  be  gan  J  —  wt'ti  hirsilff 
\)us  streyue  R,  J. 

5036.  to  ryue  R,  arive  H. 

5037.  heer]  om.  H,  R,  R  3  —  llflF]  silflF  R,  silf  T,  H  c  —  to]  om. 
R,  so  H,  R  3,  P. 

5038.  B  bos  no  initial  here.        5042.   kyng]  om.  R. 
5043.  sumtyme  R. 


Hercules  appears  before  Bochas 

[bk.  I 

To  speke  off  conquest,  [of]  victorie*  and  [of]  fame, 
Heer  In  this  world  that  hadde  so  gret  a  name. 

He  was  terrible  Dreedful  of  look  hc  was,  and  rlht  terrible, 

His  herd  eek  blak,  which  heeng  ful  lowe  doun. 

And  al  his  her  as  bristlis  wer  horrible. 

His  robe  also,  ful  merueilous  off  facioun, 

Was  off  the  skyn  ofF  a  fers  leouw, 

Which  [from  his  bake]  of  verray  force  he  rente, 

With-in  a  forest*  alone  whan  he  wente. 

with  bristly  hair 
and  dressed  in 
a  lion's  skin, 

and  he  held 
a  mace 
of  steel  in  his 

In  his  hand  he  bar  a  maas  off  steel. 
Which  to  beholde  was  wonder  large  &  huge 
Bi  apperence,  as  Bochas  felte  weel; 
Dempte  off  resouw,  as  a  rihtful  iuge, 
That  Hercules  hadde  to  his  refuge 
Wisdam  with  force,  for  tencrece  his  fame, 
AUe  beestis  wilde  for  to  make  hem  tame. 

"Take  heed, 
Bochas,"  he 
said,  "my 
merits  are 
more  com- 
mendable than 
any  tongue  can 

"Before  my 
birth,  Jove 
said  to  Juno, 
that  Hercules, 
noblest  oi  the 
noble,  would 
be  born  on 
such  a  day. 





And  onto  Bochas  he  gan  loude  crie, 

"Tak  riht  good  heed[e],  for  it  is  no  fable, 

I  for  my  meritis,  to  speke  off  cheualrie  5064 

And  noble  triuwphes,  am  most  comendable, 

To  be  preferrid  most  worthi  and  most  hable. 

Which  haue  accowplisshid  al  that  may  excelle 

Thoruh  hih  prowesse,  that  any  tunge*  can  telle.  5068 

Eek  off  my  berthe,  in  heuene  ful  yore  ago         [p.  63] 

FuUi  conceyued  my  constellaciouw, 

Mihti  loue  saide  onto  luno. 

On  such  a  day,  in  such  a  regioun,  5072 

Oon  shal  be  born,  most  myhti  off  renoun, 

Noblest  off  nobles  bothe  in  werre  and  pes, 

OfF  whom  the  name  shal  be  Hercules. 

5046.  victoire  B. 

5049.  eek^  also  R. 

5053.  from  his  bake]]  om.  H,  R  3. 

5054.  With-in  a  forest]  From  his  bak  B,  H,  R  3  —  whan]  as 

5055.  mas  J,  mase  H  5,  mace  R,  R  3,  P. 
5058.  Demede  R. 

5060.  With  force  wisdome  R  —  for]  om.  R  —  fame]  name  H, 

5061.  Alle]  As  R. 

5065.  nobles  R  —  triumphes  is  muddled  in  R. 

5068.  hih]  his  R  3,  his  hih  R  —  tunge]  mouth  B,  H,  man  R  3. 

5069.  Eek]  Also  R. 

BK.  l] 

Hercules  and  Eurystheus 


The  which[e]  doom  whan  luno  vndirstood,  5076 

Off  lubiter  conceyuyng  the  entente, 

And  knew  my  fate  sholde  be  so  good, 

To  Lucynya  hir  messager  she  sente."  .  .  . 

But  summe  seyn,  how  doun  hirselfF  she  wente      5080 

To  this  goddesse,  goddesse  off  childyng. 

And  hir  besouhte  to  grauwte  hire  hir  askyng: 

That  she  wolde  from  Hercules  translate 

The  influence  off"  his  natyuyte,  5084 

Helpe  to  reuerse  his  fame  and  eek  his  fate, 

And  grauwte  it  hqoli  to  yong  Euristee; 

And  that  Lucynya  present  wolde  be 

The  same  hour  bi  lubiter  prouyded,  5088 

It  to  posseede  al  hool  and  ondeuyded. 

Thus  to  the  mooder  off  [this]  Euristee, 

luno  the  goddesse  grauntid  hir  fauour, 

Therbi  disposyng  that  he  sholde  be  5092 

Mihti  off  puissaunce  lik  an  emperour; 

But  off  his  noblesse  the  conquest  &  labour, 

And  off  his  manhod  the  prowesse  and  pursut 

Bi  Hercules  was  fully  execut.  5096 

Thus  Hercules  hadde  the  trauaile. 

And  Euristeus  bar  awey  the  name; 

Eek  Hercules  fauht  in  plate  &  maile. 

And  hih  emprises  proudli  dede  attame:  5100 

But  the  report  off  his  noble  fame 

To  Euristeus  was  fynali  ascryued; 

Thus  off  his  thank  was  Hercules  dcpryued. 

Ful  ofFte  in  armys  sum  man  doth  riht  weel,  5104 

And  ofFte  causith  that  the  feeld  is  won  we; 

And  off  a-nother  that  dede  neueradeel, 

The  price  out-spredith  lich  a  sheene  sonne. 

And  ofFte  it  happith,  that  he  that  best  hath  ronwe  5108 

Doth  nat  the  spere  lich  his  desert  posseede, 

Wher  fals  fauour  yeueth  eueri  man  his  meede. 

"But  Juno 
contrived  that 
my  good  for- 
tune should  be 
translated  to 
young  Eurj's- 

So  it  was 
Hercules  who 
achieved  the 
conquests  and 
had  all  the 
labour,  while 
bore  away  the 

It  often  hap- 
pens that  the 
man  who  wins 
the  victory 
does  not  get 
the  credit  for 
it.     Fame    has 
more  than  one 

5083.  wolde]  sholde  H. 

5085.  reuerse]  resirrue  R,  J,  H  5  —  fame]  name  R,  J,  H  5 

eek]  om.  R,  J,  H  5. 

5090.  this]  om.  H.       5097.  Thus]  This  J. 

5099.  Eek]  Thus  R,  Also  J,  H  5.      5100.   hih]  his  R. 

5102.  was  fynali]  fully  was  R. 

5107.  lich  a]  as  shyneth  Jie  R,  as  shine^j  \,t  J,  H  5,  P. 

5108.  2nd  that]  which  R. 

144  Good  Fortune  is  not  always  to  the  Victor  []bk.  I 

Fame  in  hir  paleis  hath  trumpes  mo  than  oon, 

Sumwe  ofF  gold  that  yeuen  a  ful  fressh  soun;        5112 

Sum  man  hath  laude,  that  deserueth  non, 

And  summe  ha[ue]  been  ful  worthi  off  renoun, 

Nothyng  preferrid  hi  comendaciouw, 

As  hi  report  off  statis  hih  and  lowe,  5116 

So  frowardli  Famys  truwpe  hath  blowe. 

Touchyng  armys,  the  poore  nor  the  riche 

Be  nat  echon  off  herte  coragous; 

Nor  alle  men  may  nat  been  iliche,  5120 

foiiow\hTt\e   Nor  off  ther  name  egal  nor  gracious. 
de^e°  fiways^^    -^"^  thouh  the  poore  ha[ue]  be  victorious, 
eats  the  veni-    Off  auenture  to  do  ful  weel  sum  day, 
though  one       Other  ha[ue]  pynchid  to  take  his  thank  away.       5124 

the\^sh!  \t^^  Oon  sleth  the  deer  with  an  hokid  arwe, 
who  geVth?'''^  ^'^os  part  is  non  yit  off  the  venysoun; 
birds.  Oon  bet  the  bussh,  another  hath  the  sparwe, 

And  alle  the  birdis  in  his  possessiouw;  5128 

Oon  draweth  his  nettis  in  ryuers  vp  &  dou«. 
With  sundri  baitis*  cast  out  lyne  and  hook, 
And  hath  no  part  off  al  that  euer  he  took. 

An  euidence  heeroff  ye  may  see,  5132 

Ful  notable  to  be  put  in  memorie,* 

Off  Hercules  and  [of]  Euristee; 
KheuTare  For  Hercules  gat  ay  the  victorie, 
this^''*"'^'^  °^   ^^^  Euristeus  receyued  hath  the  glorie.  5136 

Thus  ther  palme  partid  was  on  tweyne; 

The  ton  reioisshid,  the  tother  bar  the  peyne. 

f  pHnceTf  ^''^  Euristeus  was  a  prynce  off  Athene, 

Athens  son  of  ^qxxq  and  hair  be  discent  off  lyne  5140 

king  Sthenelus;  ii-  i  n    mi 

but  it  was        Onto  the  kyng  that  callid  was  Stillene, 
won  the  prize     Vuder  whos  myht,  as  Bochas  doth  termyne, 
Hercules  thoruh  knyhtli  disciplyne 
Profitid  so,  most  manli  and  most  wis,  5144 

That  from  all  othre  he  bar  awey  the  pris. 

5112.  yeueth  H. 

5117.  Famys]  fame  his  R,  J,  P,  H  5.      5118.   nor]  ne  R,  J,  P. 

5119.  herds  R.       5120,  21.   Nor]  Neithir  R. 

5122.  poore  man  R.       5127.   betith  R.       5129.   &]  owi.  R. 

5130.  baitis]  battis  B  —  out]  om.  R  3.       5132.   An]  In  R. 

5133,35,36.  memoire,  victoire,  gloire  B.     5134.  2ndof]o»t.  H. 

5137.  departid  was  in  R. 

5139.  a]  om.  R,  H  5.       5142.   detirrmyne  R. 

5144.  Profited]  Prouided  J,  Prouisid  R,  Prouidid  P. 

of  victory. 

BK.  i]  HercuUs  and  loU  145 

But  O  alias,  that  euer  it  sholde  fall,  Alas  that  » 

'  ,  .  noble  a  man 

So  noble  a  knyht,  so  manli,  so  notable,  «houid  be 

1111'  •  11  drawn  from  bis 

That  any  spotte  sholde  his  pns  appall  5148  knighthood  by 

Or  cause  his  corage  for  to  been  onstabl^f,  *  woman. 

Which  is  a  thyng  doolful  and  lamentable, 

From  his  knyhthod,  which  is  a  thyng  to  straunge, 

That  euer  a  woman  sholde  his  herte  chaunge!       5152 

I  will  excuse  hem,  because  ther  nature  [p.  64]  i  ^^    , 

'        .  ir        T^j    excuse  them, 

Ys  to  chaungen  hertis  and  corages;  for  it  \%  their 

.  ,         "  f.  J  nature  to  cause 

A-geyn  ther  power  no  force  may  endure,  hearts  to 

For  ther  flatrie  and  sugrid  fair  language,  5156  "  *°^ 

Lich  Sirenes,  fressh  off  ther  visage, 
For  tenchaunge  off  pryncis  the  noblesse, 
Mo  than  Hercules  can  bem  heerofF  witnesse. 

Thus  Hercules,  astoned  and  ashamed,  5160  f^^^^'^^j 

Onto  Bochas  shewed  his  presence,  before  Bochas 

Seide,  "alias!  my  knyhthod  is  difFamed  my  knighthood' 

Bi  a  ful  fals  amerous  pestilence,  Fo"i^™LimV 

So  sore  constreyned  bi  mortal  violence,  5164  ^^^dr'IS^^ 

Wherbi,  alias,  my  manhod  was  applied,  |^  'o^'  °^ 
Be  sleihte  off  women  oppressid  &  maistried, 

To  take  ther  habite  &  clothe  me  in  ther  weede. 

To  shaue  my  herd  and  farse  my  visage  5168 

With  oynementis,  ageyn[es]  al  manheede, 

To  make  it  souple,  &  chaungid  my  language; 

And  to  compleyne  mor  off  myn  outrage, 

Vpon  my  fyngris,  fyue  twies  told,  5172 

I  hadde  ryngis  richeli  wrouht  off  gold. 

Thus  was  my  corage  chaungid  femyiiyne 

For  loue  off  oon  callid  Yole, 

Off  condiciouns  thouh  she  were  serpentyne,  5176  though  the 

Me  thouhte  she  was  so  fair  vpon  to  see,  ^"dne  *  **" 

That  al  my  ioie  was  with  hire  to  be;  disposition. 

And  that  non  sholde  apparceyue  my  trespace, 

I  chaungid  bothe  habite,  look  and  face,  5180 

5152.  his  herte3  herofF  here  R.       5155.   power]  nature  R. 

5156.  languages  R.       5157.   visages  R. 

5158.  tenchaunge]  to  eschauwge  R. 

5160.  astonyed  R. 

5168.  shaue]  shere  R  —  farse]  force  R. 

5170.  chaunge  R. 

5177.  so  fair]  fayrest  R. 

146  Hercules  laments  the  Loss  0/  his  Good  Name       |~bk.  i 


Bochae,  tell 
ray  misfortunes 
as  they  were  in 
deed,  bo  that 
others,  hearing 
of  them,  may 
amend  their 
vicious  lives. 
Even  wise  men 
may  profit  by 
the  example  of 

•  I  did  this  that  And  was  a  woman  outward  in  apparence, 

I  might  ap-        ^„  ,  ... 

proach  her       (Jit  cntcnt  to  hauc  Hior  liDcrte 

freely;  but  it       np  i  •  i   i 

has  ruined  my   1  o  vsc  my  lustis,  and  hauc  experience 

good  name.       Qg-  ^ppetitis  which  that  onlecfful  be. 

WherofF  the  sclauwdre  reboundeth  onto  me, 
That  I  dar  seyn,  myn  outragous  trespace 
Doth  al  my  knyhthod  &  my  prowesse  difFace. 

Wherfore,  O  Bochas,  I  pray  the  tak  good  heede  5188 

For  to  descryue  in  termys  pleyn  and  cleer 

Myn  infortunye,  riht  as  it  was  in  deede, 

That  whan  other  conceyue  the  maneer 

Off  myn  onhappis,  contagious  for  to  heer,  5192 

Thei  may  bexauwple  off  me  doon  ther  peyne, 

From  vicious  lifF  ther  hertis  to  restreyne. 

For  these  foolis  that  al  wisdam  despise, 

And  be  contrarie*  to  vertuous  disciplyne,  5196 

May  yiue  exaumple  to  folkis  that  be  wise. 

And  been  to  hem  a  lanterne  off  doctryne, 

Vices  teschewe  and  prudentli  declyne 

Fro  flesshli  lustis;  for  it  is  tauht  in  scoolis,  52cx> 

That  wise  men  been  alday  war  be  foolis." 

Bochas  thought  Whan  Bochas  hadde  conceyued  the  compleynt 
wrong  to  speak  Off  Hctcules  in  his  appceryng, 
alone'  ^"^*^*       And  how  his  noblesse  bi  women  was  atteynt 
Thoruh  his  pitous  disordynat  lyuyng. 
He  thouhte  anon,  hymselue  remembryng. 
It  hadde  be  routhe  for  taput  in  mynde 
His  vicis  alle,  and  vertues  lefft  behynde. 

or  in  any  way  Considted  also  it  was  inpettyneut, 

to  cast  a  slur      /->       i  i  •  i  •  i      -i 

on  his  good      (Juthcr  bi  language  to  write,  ageyn  al  riht. 
Any*  thyng  that  sholde  in  sentement 
The  fame  amenuse  off  so  noble  a  knyht, 
Or  to  discrece  in  ony  manys  siht 
His  glorious  prowesse,  sith  poet<?j-  for  his  werris 
Reisen  his  renouw  so  hih  aboue  the  sterris. 




5x81.  R  omits  to  5348,  leaf  lost  between  32  and  33. 

5188.  Wherfore]  wher  of  H,  P,  H  5. 

5 191.  maneer]  mateere  H,  matter  R  3,  P. 

5196.  contraire  B. 

5201.  been  alday  war]  al  dai  ben  tau^t  J,  H  c. 

5207.  taput]  ta  be  put  H,  to  put  J,  H  j,  to  nave  put  P. 

5209.  impertinent  P. 

S2II.  Any]  And  B,  H,  P,  A  R  3. 



The  Labours  of  Hercules 


For  he  was  bothe  knyht  and  phillsophre,  5216 

And  for  his  strengthe  callid  a  geaunt; 

For  comoun  profit  he  proudli  gan  eek  profre, 

Off  manli  corage  yafF  therto  ful  graunt, 

Tentre  in  Egipt  &*  slen  ther  the  tiraunt  5220 

Callid  Busiris,  which  off  ful  fals  entente 

Slouh  all  straungers  that  thoruh  his  kyngdaw  wente. 

For  vnder  a  colour  off  liberalite, 

To  his  paleis  he  gladli  wolde  calle  5224 

Straungers  echon  that  cam  thoruh  his  contre, 

And  sollempneli  receyue  hem  oon  and  alle, 

And  lich  a  kyng,  bothe  in  chaumbre  and  halle 

Make  hem  such  cheer  in  alle  maner  thyng,  5228 

As  appertened  onto  a  worthi  kyng. 

But  whil  his  gestis  lay  a-nyht  and  sleep, 

This  fals[e]  tiraunt,  in  ful  cruel  wise, 

Moordred  hem  echon  or  thei  toke*  keep;  5232 

And  afftir  that  —  this  was  eek  his  gise  — 

With  ther  blood  to  make  a  sacrefise 

To  lubiter,  god  off  that  contre. 

Off  hool  entent  to  plese  his  deite,  5236 

That  in  his  kyngdam,  on  frutis  &  on  greyn       [p.  65] 
The  land  tencrece  bi  gret[e]  habundaunce, 
Doun  from  heuene  he  wolde  sende  hem  reyn. 
This  mene  he  made  and  this  fals  cheuysaunce,     5240 
To  moordre  and  slen  he  hadde  so  gret  plesaunce; 
For  off  alle  thynge  hym*  thouhte  it  dede  him*  good 
To  slayen*  straungers  and  to  sheede  ther  blood. 

But  whan  this  moordre  off  Busiris  was  kouth, 
That  no  straunger  myht  passe  his  lond  in  pes. 
This  manli  knyht,  yit  flouryng  in  his  youth. 
This  noble  famous,  this  worthi  Hercules, 
Amonges  other  put  hymsilff  in  pres. 
And  lich  a  gest  outward  in  shewyng 
Cam  to  the  paleis  off  Busiris  the  kyng, 

Hercules  was 
both  a  philoso- 
pher and  a 



He  slew 
Busiris  in 
Egypt,  who 
murdered  his 

and  offered  up 
their  blood  to 
Jove,  that  he 
might  send  rain 
to  his  kingdom. 

But  Herculei 
went  to  his 

5220.   &]  to  B,  J  —  in]  in  to  J  —  ther  the  tirauwt]  l)e  geant 

J,  Hs. 
5232.   token  B.       5236.   hool]  om.  H. 
5238.   tencrece]  encreased  H  5,  P. 

5242.  ofF]  om.  P  —  hym]  he  B  —  him]  hem  B. 

5243.  slayen]  slen  B  —  slayen  straungers  and  to  sheede]  mur- 
\>tre  his  gestis  and  shede  J,  H  5. 


The  Labours  of  Hercules 


and  after  rebuk-  Rebukcd  hvm  ofF  hls  gtet  outrage 

ing  him,  killed    _^  ,  /  •     ,  •  1       •    1 

him  and  set        DOOn  tO  hlS  gCStlS   Dl  CFUCl  VlOlenCC.  525a 

gypt  in  ease,    ^^j  ^^^  ^^  make  pcsiblc  that  passage, 

And  for  to  auenge  his  inportable  offence, 

And  off  his  moordre  to  make  recompence, 

This  Hercules  slouh  Busiris*  in  deede,  5256 

And  took  the  blood  which  he  dede  bleede, 

OfFrid  it  vp  lubiter  to  plese. 

For  this  victorie  hym  to  magnefie; 

And  al  Egipt  thus  was  set  in  ese:  5260 

Ther  lond,  ther  frutis  gan  also  multeplie, 

Ther  greyn  encrece  a-boute  on  ech  partie 

And  to  habouwde  bi  influence  ofi^  reyn, 

Which  aflPortyme  off  vitaile  was  bareyn.  5264 

He  also  slew     ^  Another  geauwt  callid  Antheus, 

Antsus,  who  rr  T  •  I  •  i  i      i     i  i        j 

renewed  his       Kyng  Oil  LiDie,  and  gouerned  al  that  iond, 
time  he  touched  Whom  Hercules,  most  strong  &  coraious, 

\YhJIom  outraied  [&]  slouh  hym  with  his  bond;     5268 
For  as  thei  wrastlid,  bexperience  he  fond, 
Touchyng  therthe  this  geaunt,  it  is  trewe, 
His  force,  his  myht  dede  alwey  renewe. 

But  whan  Hercules  the  maner  dede  espie,  5272 

How  his  strengthe  renewed  ageyn  so  ofFte, 

Ther  ageyns  he  shoop  a  remedie: 

Hie  in  the  hair  he  reised  hym  vp  a-lofFte; 

And  with  his  armys,  hard  &  nothyng  soff'te,  5276 

Bak  and  bonys  so  sore  he  dede  enbrace. 

That  he  fill  ded  toforn  hym  in  the  place. 

But  suwme  bookis  olF  this  geaunt  telle, 

Withynwe  his  kyngdam  who  dede  hym  assaile,      5280 

He  wolde  off  newe  his  cheualrie  compelle 

EfFt  ageyn  to  meete  hym  in  bataile; 

And  in  this  wise  ful  seelde  he  dede  faile 

TafForce  off  newe,  as  folk  shal  vndirstonde,  5284 

His  strengthe,  his  myht  all  enmyes  to  withstonde. 

Some  books 
say  that  An- 
taeus was  in- 
vincible in  his 
own  kingdom, 

and  that  Her-   But  Hetcules  ofF  hih  discrecioun, 

cules  enticed        ,_,,        r      ^  ^  i  !• 

him  away  from  1  he  leeld  on  hym  manli  to  recure, 
thu8°defeated    Hadde  hym  be  sleihte  out  ofF  his  regiourt; 



And  as  thei  mette  theer  ofF  auenture, 
The  said  Antheus  myht[e]  nat  endure, 

5253.   that]  the  H.       5256.    Bisiris  B.       5267.   &]  &  most  H. 
5269.  he]o7n.  H.        5276.   his]  om.  H. 

BK.  0 

The  Labours  of  Hercules 


Heroiles  next 
conquered  and 
slew  Geryon  of 
Spain,  who  had 
exfled  all  his 

and  afterward* 
he  killed 

He  also  slew 
the  Cretan  Bui  1 
and  the 
Nemean  Lion, 
of  whose  skin 
he  made  a 

But  was  disconfited  bi  Hercules  anon, 

Maugre  his  myht,  he  and  his  men  echon.  5292 

^  AfFtir  this  conquest  Hercules  is  gon. 

For  exercise  his  prowesse  for  to  vse, 

Ageyn  the  myhti  stronge*  Gerion, 

Kyng  oflF  Spaigne,  off  Malliagre  &  Ebuse,  5296 

The  which[e]  tirant  myhte  hym  nat  excuse, 

That  al  his  labour,  as  poetis  do  compile, 

Was  fro  these  rewmys  his  peeple*  to  exile. 

His  tirannye  ne  myht  nat  longe  endure;  5300 

For  Hercules,  the  noble  worthi  knyht, 

Made  vpon  hym  a  gret  disconfiture, 

And  slouh  the  tirant  as  thei  mette  in  fiht. 

And  afftir  that,  he,  thoruh  his  grete  myht,  5304 

Off  his  prowesse  and  magnanymyte 

Slouh  Cerberus  with  his  hedis  thre. 

^  The  famous  boole  off  the  lond  off  Crete, 

Which  that  destroied  al  that  regioun,  5308 

He  slouh  also  whan  thei  dede  meete; 

And  in  Nemea  he  slouh  a  fers  leoun. 

And  for  a  record  off  his  hih  renoun. 

Off  manli  force  his  skyn  away  he  took,  5312 

And  to  his  bodi  a  coote  theroff  he  shoop: 

To  all  his  enmyes  to  shewe  hym  mor  dreedful, 

Therfore  he  werid  that  hidous  gamement. 

And  for  in  armys  he  neuer  was  founde  dull,  5316 

But  euer  ilich[e]  fressh  in  his  entent, 

Into  a  mounteyn  he  made  anon  his  went, 

Callid  Erimantus;  and  ther  in  his  passage 

He  slouh  a  boor,  most  wilde  &  most  sauage,         5320 

Beside  a  r^'uer  callid  Stiphalus,  [p.  66] 

Off  furious  birdis  he  slouh  a  gret[e]  noumbre; 

Withynne  the  kyngdam  off  kyng  Fyneus 

Al  the  contre  for  thei  dede  encoumbre:  5324 

For  with  ther  shadwe  &  outraious  oumbre, 

On  seed  or  frutis  whereuer  thei  aliht, 

Al  was  deuoured  in  eueri  manys  siht. 

9  Vpon  the  mounteyn  callid  Auent^Tie,  5328 

Which  is  nat  ferr  fro  Rome  the  cite, 

Ther  is  a  wode,  as  cronycles  determyne, 

5295.   stronge]  straunge  B,  strange  H.     5296.   Malliagre]]  Baleares  P. 
5299.  peeple]  peeplis  B,  H.     531J.  garment  H.     5326.  or  frutis]  on  frute  H. 

the  Eryman- 
thian  Boar, 




150  The  Labours  of  Hercules  [^bk.  i 

Riht  fressh  off  siht  and  goodli  on  to  see. 
and  Cacus        And  Hercules  passyng  bi  that  contre,  5332 

Mt.  Aventine,    Fto  Spayncward  goyng  be  Ytaile, 

Cachus  the  geaunt  dede  hym  ther  assaile. 

Whil  Hercules  among  the  leues  greene 
Leide  hym  to  slepe,  off  sodeyn  auenture,  5336 

who  stole  his     _/\nd  his  beestis  ageyn  the  sonne  sheene, 

cattle  and  hid      __.,   .,111  •         i 

them  in  a  cave,  Whil  that  he  slepte,  wente  m  ther  pasture, 
Cam  Cachus  foorth,  ful  hidous  off  stature, 
Thouhte  he  wolde  these  beestis  with  hym  haue,   5340 
Stal  hem  echon  and  hid  hem  in  a  caue. 

dragging  them   And  Hk  a  thecfF  he  made  hem  go  bakward, 

backwards  by      rr^.  i      i  i         i  •         rr  ^  i 

the  tail,  like  a     1  hat  no  man  sholde  the  tracis  oit  hem  knowe, 

Nor  off  ther  passage  haue  no  reward;  5344 

For  bi  ther  tailis  he  ladde  hem  on  a  rowe 

Into  his  caue,  which  that  stood  ful  lowe. 

And  for  thei  wern  off  excellent  fairnesse, 

To  keepe  hem  cloos  he  dede  his  besynesse.  5348 

Hercules  heard  Qut  off  his  slep  whatt  Hetculcs  awook 

their  lowing  «       i  i   i   • 

And  aparceyued  his  oxes  were  away, 

He  roos  hym  up,  and  caste  aboute  his  look, 

Gan  tespie  in  al  the  haste  he  may  5352 

To  what  parti  the  tracis  off  hem  lay. 

And  whil  he  stood  thus  musyng  in  the  shade, 

[He]  herde  lowyng  that  his  oxes  made. 

and,  finding  the  And  bi  thet  lowyug  he  gan  anon  approche  5356 

c7cus°a'^d"iew  Toward  the  parti  wher  thei  were  kept  ful  cloos, 
'^""'  Fond  the  caue  vndir  a  myhti  roche; 

And  proude  Cachus,  which  hadde  hem  in  depoos, 
Geyn  Hercules  he  sturdili  aroos:  5360 

But  for  al  that,  he  myht  hymsilff  nat*  saue. 
For  he  hym  slouh  at  thentre  off  the  caue. 

He  then  cleared  And  thus  his  beestis  he  hath  ageyn  recurid, 

Mt.  Aventine  of  ,-,-,,  rr  •  Ul  ^ 

brigands.  That  sempte  attorn  irrecuperable.  5364 

Afftir  the  mounteyn  be  force  he  hath  assurid, 

5332.  that]  the  H,       5333-   be]  fro  H. 

5346.  ful]  so  H. 

5350.  parceyued  R,  p<?rceived  J  —  oxen  H,  P. 

5351.  hym  ]  OOT.  R.       5352.   Bigan  to  espie  R. 
5355.  He]  om.  H  —  the  lowyng  P,  H  5  —  oxen  P. 
5360.  Ayens  R.       5361.   myhtnat  himsilfF  B. 
5364.  inrecup^rable  R.       5365.    hath]  hast  H. 

BK.  l] 

The  Labours  of  Hercules 


Which  for  brigantis  afom  was  ful  doutable; 

But  bi  his  manhod  it  was  maad  habitable, 

That  men  myhte,  for  dreed  off  any  fo,  5368 

Whan  euer  thei  wolde  freli  come  or  go. 

9  Touchyng  his  conquest  vpon  Femynye, 

Geyn  Amazones  with  Theseus  he  wente, 

The  queen  Ypolita  thoruh  his  cheualrie,  5372 

For  his  parti  anon  to  hym  he  hente. 

And  Ypolita  off  ful  trewe  entente 

Gaff  onto  hym  in  tokne  off  victorie 

Off  gold  a  girdil  to  haue  hir  in  memorie.  5376 

^  Afftir  to  Affrik  he  wente  a  ful  gret  pas, 

Onli  off  purpos  the  gardeyn  for  to  see, 

Which  appertened  to  [the]  kyng  Athlas, 

That  brothir  was  to  kyng  Promothe,  5380 

In  astrologie  ful  weel  expert  was  he. 

And  in  this  gardeyn,  off  which  I  ha[ue]  you  told, 

The  riche  brauwchis  and  applis  were  off  gold, 

Thoruh  magik  maad  bi  gret  auisement,  5384 

Ful  streihtly*  kept  and  closid  enviroun. 

And  Iwachchid  with  a  fell  serpent. 

That  no  man  entred  that  riche  mansioun. 

But  Hercules,  most  myhti  off  renoun,  5388 

The  serpent  slouh  throuh  his  manli  pursuit. 

And  fro  that  gardeyn  he  bar  awey  the  fruit. 

This  seid  Athlas,  as  bookis  specefie, 

And  poetis  eek  off  hym  endite,  5392 

He  was  ful  cunnyng  in  astronomic 

And  theryn  dede  ful  gretli  hym*  delite; 

And  many  a  book  he  made  &  dede  write 

With  gret  labour  and  gret[e]  dilligence  5396 

In  his  tyme  vpon  that  science. 

The  which[e]  wern  mor  precious  than  gold. 

And  mor  riche  in  his  opynyoun. 

But  Hercules,  in  soth  as  it  is  told,  5400 

5367.  manhod]  knyhthode  R. 

S37I.  Ayens  R. 

5373.  parti]  pray  R.       5376.   hir]  om.  R. 

5380.  the  kyng  R,  H,  J. 

5385.  streihtly]streihteB,  R,  streietj,  streite  P.      5389.   The] 

Ther  H. 

5392.  eek  off  hym]  of  hym  also  R.       5393.   ful]  om.  R. 

5394.  hym  ful  gretli  B.       5398.   than]  that  R. 

\Mien  he  went 
to  Feraynye, 
presented  him 
with  her  golden 

Afterwards,  in 
Africa,  he  slew 
a  serpent  in 
King  Atlas' 
garden  and 
fetched  away 
the  Golden 
Apples  of  the 
Hespe  rides. 

Atlas  was  a 
learned  a«ron- 
omer  who 
wrote  many 

which  Hercules 
seized  and 
brought  to 


The  Labours  of  Hercules 

[bk.  I 

In  Thrace  he 
slew  Diomedes, 
who  fed  his 
horses  with 
human  flesh. 

Gat  alle  the  bookis  thoruh  his  hih  renouw, 

Bar  hem  hi  force  out  off  that  regloun; 

And  into  Grece,  lich  a  conquerour, 

With  hym  he  brouhte  for  a  gret  tresour.  5404 

Off  Trace  he  slouh  the  tirant  outraious  [p.  67] 

That  whilom  was  callid  Diomede, 

Which  moordred  al  that  cam  in[to]  his  hous, 

And  with  ther  flessh  his  hors  he  dede  feede.  5408 

And  thoruh  his  witt,  labour  and  manheede, 

Off  Achelaus,  which  was  a  gret[e]  wonder, 

He  made  the  stremys  for  to  parte  assonder; 

And  bi  his  wisdam  dede  hem  so  deuide,  5412 

In  too  parties  disseueryng  his  passage: 

For  tofortyme  no  man  myhte  abide 

Off  his  cours  the*  furious  fell  outrage; 

For  in  contrees  it  dede  so  gret  damage,  5416 

Turnyng  vpward,  ther  was  noon  othir  boote. 

Where  it  flowed,  off  trees  cropp  and  roote. 

A  gret  emprise  he  dede  eek  vndirtake, 

Whan  that  the  [wor]mees,  hidous  &  horrible,        5420 

Aryued  up  off  Archadie  in  the  lake 

Callid  Lerne,  the  beestis  ful  odible, 

Which  with  ther  teeth  &  mouthes  ful  terrible 

Frut,  greyn  and  corn  dede  mortali  deuoure;  5424 

But  Hercules,  the  contre  to  socoure. 

Cam  lik  a  knyht  ther  malice  for  to  lette; 

And  bi  his  prudence  destroied  hem  euerichon. 

Withynwe  the  lake  the  wermys  up  he  shette,         5428 

Sauff  among  alle  behynde  was  lefft  on; 

And  ageyn  hym  this  Hercules  anon 

Off  knyhthod  cauhte  so  gret  auauntage, 

That  to  the  contre  he  dede  no  mor  damage.  5432 

No  one  ever     Thus  al  that  cuete  may  rehersed  be 

had  more  fame  nr  i  11.11  J 

or  excellence  in  Touchyng  kuyhthod,  prowcssc  or  prudence, 
arms;  Glorious  fame  or  long  felicite, 

This  knyhtli  man  hadde  most  excellence,  5436 

And  in  armys  lengest  experience. 

He  parted  the 
which  before 
that  time  had 
done  great 

He  next  slew 
all  but  one  of 
the  horrible 
serpents  of 
Lake  Lerna. 

5405.  tirant]  Geauwt  R.       5406.  wliilom]]  sumtyme  R. 

5411.  departe  R.       5415.   the]  and  the  B. 

5420.  wormeesi  mees  B,  H,  P,  mes  R,  J,  H  S,  wormees  R  3. 

5435.  Glorious]  by  glorious  H. 



Hercules  and  Deianeira 





For  his  tryumphes  and  actis  marclall 
Sette  up  pliers  for  a  memoriall, 

Which  remembrid  his  conquestis  most  notable,     5440 

And  his  deedis  bi  grauyng  dede  expresse  — 

Beyonde  which  no  lond  is  habitable. 

So  ferr  abrod  spradde  his  hih  noblesse. 

But  as  the  sonne  lesith  his  brihtnesse 

Sumwhile  whan  he  is  fresshest  in  his  speer, 

With  onwar  cloudis  that  sodenli  appeer, 

Semblabli  the  noblesse  and  the  glory 
Off  Hercules  in  this  onstable  liff 
Eclipsid  was  and  shadwid  his  memory 
Bi  Deianira,  that  whilom  was  his  wiff: 
For  bi  hir  fraude  cam  in  the  mortal  striff, 
As  ye  shal  heere  the  maner  and  the  cas, 
Wherbi  that  he  loste  his  liff,  alias. 

Yit  for  hir  sake,  this  most  manli  man* 

Fauht,  as  I  fynde,  a  synguler  bataile 

With  Achelous,  sone  off  the  occian, 

Lik  as  poetis  make  rehersaile. 

And  as  ech  other  proudli  dede  assaile. 

This  Hercules,  off  knyhthod  souereyne. 

Rente  from  his  hed  oon  off  his  homys  tweyne. 

Off  kyng  Oene  she  was  the  doubter  deere. 

To  Hercules  ioyned  in  mariage; 

And  as  thei  cam  to  a  gret  ryuere 

With  sturdi  wawes,  wher  was  no  passage, 

Nessus,  the  geaunt,  ougli  off  visage, 

To  Hercules  profred  his  seruise, 

And  ful  falsli  ageyn  hym  gan  deuise. 

Made  his  promys  to  Hercules  in  deede. 
To  putte  his  liff  in  gret  auenture, 
Ouer  the  strem  Deianire  to  leede, 
Because  he  was  large  off  his  stature. 
And  for  she  was  a  riht  fair  creature. 
Whan  thei  were  passid  and  Icome  to  londe, 
Nessus  falsli  wolde  vpon  the  stronde 

5443.   his  hih]  is  his  H,  his  J,  H  5. 

5449.   shadowde  R.      5450.  whilom]  sumtyme  R. 

S4SI.   the]owt.  H,  P,  R  3.       5453.   that]  am.  H. 

S4S4-    ^*"  stanza  is  transposed  with  the  next  B,  H. 

S458.  other]  (wi.R,        5460.  Rente]  Sent  R  —  homvs]  armvs  R. 

5461.  OemeR,J.        5462.   in]bi  R.        5467.   ayens  R. 




and  as  a  mem- 
oriaJ  to  his 
martial  deeds 
he  set  up  the 
Pillars  of 

Yet  the  glory 
of  Hercules  was 
tarnished  by 
the  fraud 
of  his  wife 



although  he 
fought  Ache- 
lous, son  of  the 
ocean,  for  her 


She  was  daugh- 
ter of  King 
CEneus;  and 
once  when  she 
and  Hercules 
came  to  a  river, 
the  giant 
Nessus  ottered 
to  carry  her 

but  when  they 
arrived  at  the 
other  side,  he 
attempted  her 
virtue,  and 
wounded  him 
mortally  with 
an  arrow. 

154  'Tb^  Death  of  Hercules  [bk.  i 

Ha[ue]  knowe  hir  flesshli,  lik  as  writ  Guide, 

Hercules  hauyng  therofF  a  siht,  5476 

As  he  abood  vpon  the  tother  side. 

And  for  tauenge  hym  off  his  grete  onriht, 

Took  his  bowe  and  bente  it  anon  riht, 

And  with  an  arwe,  filid  sharp  &  grounde,  5480 

GafF  to  Nessus  his  dedli  fatal  wounde. 

His  last  re-      Lich  a  conduit  gusshed  out  the  blood, 

quest  was  that     »ii  i  iii  !• 

Deianeira  give   And  whan  he  sauh  that  he  muste  deie, 

his  blood-stained  nnr~»*"rri  i  i  i 

shirt  to  Her-     1  o  Ueianite  attorn  tiym  ther  she  stood,  5484 

cu  es.  With  al  his  herte  hire  he  gan  to  preie. 

That  in  o  thyng  his  lust  she  wolde  obeie, 
To  take  his  sherte,  and  be  nat  rech[e]les, 
With  blood  disteyned,  and  sende  it  Hercules,        5488 

so  that  he  and  Thcrwith  to  hym  to  be  reconcilid.  [p.  68] 

she  might  be        .       ,      ,  ,  ,-'  ,  ,        , 

reconciled.        And  shc  the  shette  to  riym  anon  tiath  sent, 

But  when  Her-  rT-ii  !»  n  i  I'l'ii 

cuies  put  it  on  1  hotuh  whos  venym,  alias,  tie  was  begiiid ! 

terrMy^  ^""  ^°  Fof  what  be  touchyng,  &  what  benchauwtement,   5492 

His  flessh,  his  bonys  furiousli  were  brent, 

And  among  his  dedli  peynes  alle, 

Into  a  rage  he  sodenli  is  falle. 

that  he  ran      [And]  as  3  beeste  furiousli  he  ran  5496 

about  like  a^^, .,.,,.  .  . 

madman,  up-     (Jn  valis,  hillis  among  the  craggi  stonys, 

broke  the"^'      SemblabH  as  doth  a  wood[e]  man, 

and"gn°awed"''  PulHd  up  ttccs  &  rootis  al  attonys, 

thus  came' fo"*^  Btak  beestis  hornys,  &  al  tognew  ther  bonys.        5500 

his  end.  Was  it  nat  pite  that  a  knyht  so  good 

Sholde  among  beestis  renne  sauagyne  &  wood! 

It  was  all  be-   Thus  ouerwhelmyd  was  al  his  worthynesse, 

cause  he  aiii  i*  * 

trusted  in        And  to  declyn  wente  his  prosperite.  5504 

rh°aTcouragr'  And  cause  &  roote  off  al  his  wrechidnesse, 
donXrn'inr"  Was  for  that  he  sette  his  felicite 
and  philosophy  ^Q  ttustc  SO  mochc  the  mutabilite 

should  have 

been  darkened  Off  these  women,  which  erli,  late  &  soone  5508 

by  their  sleight!  i        •  j  i 

Ott  ther  nature  braide  vpon  the  moone. 

5475.  lik]  om.  H.       5481.   fatall  dedly  H.      5482.  guysshed  R. 

5483.  sauh]  sije  J.       5484.   to  forn  R. 

5485.  gan]  began  R,  bigan  J,  biganne  H  5  —  to]  om.  J. 

5493.  were]  was  R,  H.       5496.   And]o7n.H. 

5497.  On]  In  H  —  valeis  R,  valeys  P,  valeies  H  5. 

5502.  sauagyne]  sauage  R,  J,  R  3,  P,  H  5. 

5503.  was]  as  R.         5505.     al]  om.  R.      5506.   his]  al  his  R. 
5508.  late]  om.  R. 

BK.  l] 

Tbf  Envoy  to  Hercules 


Alias,  alias!  al  noblesse  &  prudence, 

Prowesse  off  armys,  force  &  cheualrie, 

Forsihte  off  wisdam,  discrecioun  &  science,  5512 

Vertuous  studie,  profityng  in  clergie, 

And  the  deer  shynyng  off  philosophie, 

Hath  thoruh  fals  lustis  been  heerafom  manacid, 

Be  sleihte  off  women  dirkid  and  diiFacid!  5516 

O  Hercules,  my  penne  I  feele  quake, 

Myn  ynke  fulfillid  ofF  bittir  teris  sake, 

Thi[s]  pitous  tragedie  to  write  for  thi  sake, 

Whom  alle  poetis  glorefie  and  exalte;  5520 

But  fraude  off  women  made  thi  renoun  halte, 

And  froward  muses  thi  tryuwphes  al  toreende, 

For  to  descryue,  alias,  thi  fatal  eende. 

Hercules,  my 
pen  trembles, 
my  ink  is 
filled  with 
bitter  tears 
when  I  write 
your  history. 




THE  soote  venym,  the  sauouri  fals  poisoun. 
The  dreedful  ioie,  the  dolerous  plesaunce. 
The  woful  gladnesse,  with  furious  resouw, 
Feith  disespeired,  ay  stable  in  variaunce, 
Vertu  exilyng,  where  lust  hath  gouemaurzce, 
Thoruh  fals  luxurie  difFacen  al  noblesse. 
As  this  tragedie  can  here  ful  weel  witnesse. 

Wher  froward  Venus  hath  dominacioun, 

And  biynde  Cupide  his  subiectis  doth  auaunce. 

And  wilful  lust  thoruh  indiscrecioun 

Is  chose  iuge  to  holden  the  ballaunce, 

Ther  chois  onlefFul  hath  thoruh  onhappi  chaunce 

Dirked  off  pryncis  the  famous  hih  prowesse. 

As  this  tragedie  can  here  ful  weel  witnesse. 

O  thou  Hercules,  for  al  thyn  hih  renoun. 
For  al  thi  conquest  and  knyhtli  suflSsaunce, 
Thou*  were  thoruh  women  brouht  to  confusioun  5540 
And  thoruh  ther  fraude  thi  renom?ned  puissaunce 
Disclaundred  was  and  brouht  onto  myschaunce. 

5511.   armys]  nature  R. 

SS 14.   off]  of  al  R.       5515.   lust  H  — her  afor  be  R. 
SSi7-0]om.  R.      5518.  ofr]witi7R.      5519.  This] Thi  H. 
5521.   But] by  H. 

5526.  The]  om.  R  —  witi]  the  R,  J,  H  5  —  resoun]  tresoun  H. 

5527.  dispeired  R. 

5535.   chois]  chose  R.       5536.   prowesse]  noblesse  R. 

5538.  thyn] thy  H. 

5540.   Thou  were]  Thouh  thou  were  B,  Thoruh  werre  R. 



TTiis  tragedy 
bears  witness 
to  the  ruin 
wrought  by 

Where  Venus 
and  Cupid  rule, 
the  fame  of 
princes  is  dark- 

Hercules,  I  am 
ashamed  to  say 
that,  for  all 
your  high  re- 
nown, you  were 
brought  to 
confusion  by 

156  Narcissus,  Byblis  and  Myrrha  [|bk.  i 

I  were  ashamed  to  write  it  or  expresse, 

Except  this  tragedie  can  here  me  weel  witnesse.   5544 

Eihe'^l^'rcercsT  Pfyncis,  Pryncessis,  off  hih  discrecioun 
temputioi"^"    '^^^^  t^»yng  enprentith  in  your  remembraunce; 
Off  othres  fallyng  make  your  proteccioun, 
You  to  preserue  thoruh  prudent  purueiaunce;       5548 
AfForn  prouyded,  that  your  perseueraunce 
Be  nat  perturbid  bi  no  fals  sorceresse. 
As  this  tragedie  off  other  berth  witnesse. 

[A  processe,  of  Narcisus,  Biblis,  Mirra  and  of  othir 
ther  onforttinys  to  Bochas  compleynyng.]  ^ 

Bybiifand        'VfARCISUS,  Bibh's  &  Mirra,  alle  thre  5552 

Myrrha  declare    -i-  ^     Tofor  BochflJ  dcde  pitOUsH  appCetC, 
their  unhappi-     »-r^i  .     /-  i  .     ~  ,.    . 

ness  to  Bochas.  1  her  miortunyes,  ther  mrelicite 

To  hym  compleynyng  with  a  dedli  cheere. 

And  off  ther  comyng  to  telle  the  manere,  5556 

Narcisus  first,  with  sorwe  &  dool  atteynt, 

Gan  first  off  alle  declaren  his  compleynt. 

Narcissus,  son    He  was  [the]  sonc  off  Cephesus*  the  flood, 

of  Cephissus         .       1  1  •  1  11-  1  T  •   • 

and  Liriope.      And  his  mooder  caliid  Liriope,  5560 

Jende  Wo^d      And  bi  discent  born  off  gentil  blood, 
of  Mlatures'"^  Off  cteatutes  fairest  on  to  see; 

And,  as  I  fynde,  at  his  natyuite 

Tiresias,*  be  sperit  off  prophesie,  5564 

Touchyng  his  fate  thus  gan  specefie: 

Tiresias  fore-     The  goddis  han  prouydid  hym  a  space 

told  that  his       „,      ,  ^        .  i  i  i  i 

life  would  end    lo  lyue  m  erthc,  and  so  ionge  endure 

beheld  his  own  Til  that  he  knowe  &  see  his  owne  face;  5568 

many^rVri^^    And  for  his  sakc  ful  many  creature, 

would  love  him  gj  ordynauwcc  off  God  and  off  Nature, 

in  vain,  lor  no  -^         ,  ' 

woman  was       Whan  thei  hym  seen  shal  feelyn  ful  gret  peyne, 

beautiful  ,..,•'         ,.  -^  *=  r    J        ^ 

enough  to  pieascYirr  thci  m  louc  his  grace  may  nat  atteyne.  5572 


5543.   it3  om.  R  —  to  expr(?sse  R.       5544-   me^  full  H. 

5546.   enprinted  R.       5SSO.   soceresse  R. 

5551.  berth]  berls  H.     5553.  lohn  Bochas  H.     5558.  Bigan  R. 

5559.  1st  the]  om.  H  —  Cephesus]  Thephesus  B,  H,  R  3  — 
off]  to  H. 

5560.  lynope  R.       5564.  Thiresias  B. 

5565.   MSS.  R,  J,  H  5  transpose  lines  5846-73  and  the  Envoy 

(5873-5901)  mi^ /ini?j- 5566-5845. 
,5566.   Opposite  this  stanza  the  following  rubric  in  MS.]:  Ouidius 

X°.  et  XI°.  de  transformatis.       5566.   for  hym  R. 

1  MS.  J.  leaf  29  recto. 

BK.  I^ 

The  Story  of  Narcissus 


But  he  shal  be  contrarie*  &  daungerous,  [p.  69] 

And  off  his  port  ful  off  straungenesse, 

And  in  his  herte  [riht]  inli  surquedous, 

Bi  thoccasioun  off  his  natif  faimesse;  5576 

And,  presumyng  ofF  his  semlynesse, 

Shal  thynke  no  woman  so  fresh  nor  fair  of  face, 

That  able  were  to  stonden  in  his  grace. 

And  for  thexcellence  off  his  gret  beute,  5580 

He  hym  purposid  in  his  tendre  age, 

Neuer  in  his  lifF  weddid  for  to  be  — 

He  thouhte  hymsilfF  so  fair  off  his  visage. 

For  which  he  cast  hym,  throuh  his  gret  outrage,  5584 

Ageyn  all  lustis  off  loue  to  disdeyne, 

To  hunte  at  beestis  alone  and  be  soleyne. 

And  in  this  while  that  he  kepte  hym  so 

In  forestis  and  in  wildimesse,  5588 

A  water  goddesse,  that  callid  was  Echcho, 

Loued  hym  ful  hoote  for  his  gret  faimesse; 

And  secreli  dede  hir  besynesse 

To  folwe  his  steppis  riht  as  any  lyne,  5592 

To  hir  desirs  to  make  hym  to  enclyne. 

He  herde  hir  weel,  but  he  sauh  hir  nouht, 

WherofF  astonyd,  he  gan  anon  tenquere, 

As  he  that  was  amerueilid  in  his  thouht,  5596 

Saide  euene  thus,  "  is  any  wiht  now  heere  ?" 

And  she  ansuerde  the  same,  in  hir  manere, 

What-euer  he  saide,  as  longeth  to  Echcho, 

Withoute  abod  she  seide  the  same  also.  5600 

"  Come  neer,"  quod  he,  and  began  to  calle. 

"  Come  ner,"  quod  she,  "  my  ioie  &  my  plesaunce." 

He  lokid  aboute  [among]  the  rokkis  alle 

And  sauh  nothyng  beside  nor  in  distaunce;  5604 

But  she  abraide,  declaryng  hir  greuaunce. 

And  to  hym  seide,  "  myn  owyn  herte  deere, 

Ne  be  nat  straunge,  but  late  us  duelle  ifeere." 

And  so  it 
turned  out. 
Early  in  life 
he  thought 
too  handsome 
to  marry  and 
became  a 
But  a  water- 
nymph  named 
Eicho,  attracted 
by  his  great 
him,  calling. 

Yet  he  saw  no 
one;  and 
whatever  he 
said,  the 
in  the  same 

"  My  own  dear 
heart,  let  us 

5573.  contraire  B. 

5577,  semblenesse  R.       5578.   Shal  th\-nke]  om.  R. 

5581.  purposid  hym  R.       5582.   for]  om.  H. 

5583.  his]  om.  R.       5586.   soleyne]  slayne  R. 

5591.  secreli]  sikyrly  R.       5593.   Inclyne  R. 

5595.  began  R.       5600.   also]  hyjn  to  R. 

5603.  the]thesR. 

5605.  &  declaryng  R.       5607.   but]  om.  H. 


Narcissus  and  Echo 

[bk.  I 

"NO'"„^e^re-     "  Nay,  nay,"  quod  he,  "  I  will  nothyng  obeie       5608 
rather  die,  go    To  youF  dcsirs,  foF  short  conclusioun; 
s^eak  to  me  "   FoF  Icucre  I  haddc  pleynli  for  to  deie, 
any  more.        Xhan  ye  sholde  haue  off  me  possessioun; 

We  be  nothyng  off  on  opynyouw,  5612 

I  heere  you  weel,  thouh  I  no  figure  see, 
Goth  foorth  your  way  &  spek  no  mor  to  me!" 

Ashamed,  she    And  she  ashamcd  fledde  hir  way  anon, 

hid  herself  in  a     .         ,  ,  ,  „  ,  -'  , 

cave.  Since      As  shc  that  myhte  ott  hym  no  socour  haue.  5616 

that  time  men     y>  ^»  •ii*t^ii        *      r  1 

have  heard  her  Dut  disespeired,  this  iLchcho  IS  lootth  gon 

has'^never  been  And  hiddc  hitsilfF  in  an  ougli  caue 

seen.  Among  the  rokkis,  as  beried  in  hir  graue. 

And  thouh  so  be  that  men  hir  vois  may  heere,     5620 
Afftir  that  tyme  she  neuer  dede  appeere. 

And  thus  Narcisus  thoruh  daunger  and  disdeyn 
Vpon  this  lady  dede  crueli  vengauwce. 
^kV  with'^"^  But  whan  the  goddis  his  cruelte  han  seyn,  5624 

Towardis  hym  thei  fill  in  gret  greuauwce, 
Off  his  vnmerci  thei  hadden  displesauwce; 
And  riht  as  he  merciles  was  fouwde. 
So  with  onmerci  he  cauhte  his  dedli  wouwde.        5628 

For  al  dauwger  displesith  to  Venus, 

And  al  disdeyn  is  lothsum  to  Cupide: 

For  who  to  loue  is  contrarious. 

The  God  of  Loue  will  quite  hym  on  sum  side,       5632 

His  dreedful  arwis  so  mortali  deuyde 

To  hurte  &  mayme  alle  that*  be  rech[e]les, 

And  in  his  seruise  fouwde*  merciles. 

And  for  Narcisus  was  nat  merciable  5636 

Toward  Echcho,  for  his  gret  beute. 

But  in  his  port  was  fouwden  ontretable, 

Cupide  thouhte  he  wolde  auengid  be, 

As  he  that  herde  hir  praier  off  pite,  5640 

Causyng  Narcisus  to  feele  &  haue  his  part 

Off  Venus  brond  and  off  hir  firi  dart. 

angry  with 
Narcissus  for 
his  cruelty  to 

and  as  he  was 
so  disdainful 
they  resolved 
to  punish  him. 

5614.   &P  ye  R  —  to3  ffhh  R. 

5617.   dispeired  R.       5619.    as]  and  R. 

5621.  dede]  durst  R 

5622.  Rubric  in  J,  leaf  29  d:  "How  Narcisus,  Biblis,  and  Mirra, 
deied  atte  mischefF."  Misplaced  owing  to  transposition  of 

5623.  this]  the  R.       5624.    had  R.       5634.   that]  tho  B. 
5635.   be  founde  B. 

BK.  l] 

The  End  of  Narcissus 


And  on  a  day  whan  he  in  wildimesse 

Hadde  afftir  beestis  ronne  on  huntyng,  5644 

And  for  long  labour  gan  falle  in  werynesse, 

He  was  desirous  to  ha[ue]  sum  refresshyng; 

And  wonder  thrustleuh  afFtir  trauailyng, 

Miht  nat  endure  lengere  ther  to  duelle;  5648 

And  atte  laste  he  fond  a  cristal  welle, 

Riht  fressh  spryngyng  &  wonder  agreable, 

The  watir  lusti  and  delectable  ofFsiht: 

And  for  his  thrust  was  to  hym  inportable,  5652 

Vpon  the  brynkis  he  fill  doun  anon  riht, 

And  be  reflexioun,  myd  off  the  watir  briht 

Hym  thouhte  he  sauh  a  passyng  fair  ymage 

To  hym  appeere,  most  aungelik  off  visage.  5656 

He  was  enamoured  with  the  semlynesse,  [p.  70] 

And  desirous  theroff  to  stonde*  in  grace; 

And  yit  it  was  nat  but  a  likenesse,* 

And  but  a  shadwe  reflectyng  off  his  face,  5660 

The  which  off  feruence  amerousli  tenbrace, 

This  Narcisus  with  a  pitous  compleynt 

Sterte  into  the  welle  &  hymseluen  dreynt. 

And  thus  his  beute,  alias,  was  leid  ful  lowe,  5664 

His  semlynesse  put  ful  ferre  a-bak; 

Thus  whan  that  he  gan  first  hymsilff  to  knowe 

And  seen  his  visage,  in  which  ther  was  no  lak. 

Presumptuous  pride  causid  al  to  gon  to  wrak:       5668 

For  who  to  moch  doth  off  hymsilff  presume, 

His  owne  vsurpyng  will  sonest  hyw  consume. 

And  fynali,  as  poetis  telle, 

This  Narcisus,  withoute  mor  socour,  5672 

Afftir  that  he  was  drowned  atte  welle. 

The  heuenli  goddis  dede  hym  this  fauour, 

Thei  turned  hym  into  a  fressh[e]  flour, 

5644.  ronne  on]  runen  in  R.      5646.  sum]]  otn.  R. 

5647.  wonder]  om.  P,  R  3  —  thrustleuh]  theugh  seluth  R  3. 

5651.  delitable  R.       5652.   importable  R,  H. 

5654.  myd]  in  myddis  R. 

5657.  with]  for  H,  R  3  —  sembl>Tiesse  R. 

5658.  to  stonde  therofF  B.       5659.   likenesse]  liklynesse  B. 
5663.  hymseluen  dreynt]  hym  siliF  he  dreynt   R,  hym  siliF 

dreynt  H,  so  himsilf  he  dreynt  J.       5664.   ful]  om.  H. 
5668.   to  gon]  go  R. 
5671.   as]  as  thes  olde  R,  as  bese  oolde  H,  as  these  P,  as  theis 

olde  H  s. 
5675.   a]  a  ful  R. 

One    day, 
wearied  by  the 
chase  and  very 
thirsty,  he 
found  a  spring, 
and  seeing  a 
most  angelic 
image  redected 
in  the  still 

tried  to  em- 
brace it  in   his 
arms  and  fell 
in  and  was 

That  was  the 
end  of  Narci»- 
sus's  beauty. 
pride  caused 
his  fall. 

After  his  death 
the  gods 
turned  him 
into  a  water 
lily;  and  books 
say  that  it  is  a 
good  remedy 
for  sudden 

l6o  The  Fate  of  Byblis  [bk.  i 

A  watir-lelle,  which  doth  remedie  5676 

In  hote  accessis,  as  bookis  specefie. 

Byblis  appeared    A   FFTIR  Nafcisus  was  at  the  well[e]  dreynt, 
with 'her  brother  -tjL  And  to  lohn  Boch^j"  declared  hadd  his  wo, 

Biblis  appered,  with  teris  al  bespreynt,  5680 

And  toward  hym  a  gret  pas  she  gan  go; 

And  hir  brother  Caunus*  cam  also, 

And  off  o  wombe  as  gemellis  tweyne; 

But  she  toforn  hir  fate  gan  compleyne.  5684 

whom  she  loved  She  in  hir  loue  was  nat  vertuous, 

against  nature      ^  /-^      t  i    t;^  t  i 

and  law.  hox  ageyn  (jod  and  Kyndis  ordynaunce, 

She  loued  hir  brother  that  callid  was  Caunus;* 
And  whan  he  sauh  hir  froward  gouernauwce,         5688 

listen °to  her°^    He  outo  hire  gafF  non  attend aunce, 

Thouh  she  off  sleihte  tacowplisshe  hir  entent, 
In  secre  wise  a  pistil  to  hym  sent. 

although  she     She  seide  it  was  an  inpossible  thyng  5692 

wrote  him  a        ..^y.   ,  ,  •  i  •        i  r 

letter  saying      Withoute  his  gtace  hirselueu  tor  to  saue, 
die  uniess'he     [And]  but  he  wete  to  hire  assentyng, 
assented.  gj^^  g||jg  pjeynli  may  non  helthe  haue 

But  onli  deth,  and  afFtirward  hir  graue.  5696 

Thus  in  hir  writyng,  to  hym  she  dede  attame; 
And  to  be  couert  she  ne  wrot  no  name. 

He  paid  no       But  whan  this  pistil  cam  to  his  presence, 

attention  toit,   ,,  i-i  i  ^•     ^ 

and  Byblis        Vertuousli  thetat  he  gan  disdeyne,  5700 

siSntly  ^hat     Aud  gafF  thetto  no  maner  aduertence, 
finaify'llrned    Not  took  non  heed  ofF  hir  furious  peyne, 
foun't'lb.'        ^"^  sulFred  hir  eternali  to  pleyne 

Til  that  she  was,  as  Guide  can  weel  telle,  5704 

With  ofFte  wepyngis  transformed  to  a  welle. 

Myrrhaun-       "V  TEXT  Cam  Mirra  with  face  ful  pitous, 

naturally  loved      '  ^  i  "^  ' 

Cinyras,  and 


her  father         X  ^    Which  that  whilom  loued  ageyn  nature 

Hir  owne  fadir  callid  Cinarus,  5708 

5676.  lelie]  like  R  {corrected  in  later  hand  to  lilie). 

5678.  AfFtir  Jjat  H.       5679.   hadd]  om.  R. 

5682.  Cannus  B,  Canus  R,  Cammus  H,  Cannus  J,  Caunus  P. 

5687.  Cannus  B  —  callid  was]  om.  J. 

5688.  he]  she  R  —  gouernaunce]  greuaunce  R. 

5691.  secre]  sikir  R.       5700.   therat  he  gan]  began  ther  at  R. 

5702.  Nor]  Neither  R,  J,  om.  H  —  non]  nouthir  noon  H, 

5705.  wepyng  R.       5707.   whilom]  sum  tyme  R. 

BK.  l] 

The  Story  of  Myrrh  a 


For  whos  sake  gret  peyne  she  dede  endure. 

But  she  ne  durste  hir  sorwe  nat  discure, 

Til  hIr  norice  be  signes  dede  espie 

The  hertll  constreynt  off  hir  maladie.  5712 

For  hir  norice,  off  which  that  I  ha[ue]  told, 

Conceyued  hath,  bi  open  euidence, 

As  she  that  koude  bothe  off  newe  and  old 

In  such  materis  al  hool  thexperience,  5716 

That  thoruh  long  labour  &  sleihti  diligence, 

Dyuers  meenes  &  weies  out  she  souhte, 

To  hir  fadres  bed  that  she  Mirra  brouhte. 

With  whom  she  hadde  hir  lust  &  hir  plesaunce;   5720 

For  she  onknowe  lay  with  hym  al  nyht: 

He  was  deceyued  bi  drunkleuh  ignoraunce, 

And  on  the  morwe,  longe  or  any  liht. 

She  stal  awey  and  went  out  off  his  siht.  5724 

With  hir  norice  kepte  hir  longe  cloos, 

Til  onto  tyme  that  hir  wombe  aroos. 

But  hir  fadir,  that  was  off  Cipre  kyng, 

Which,  as  I  tolde,  was  callid  Cinarus,  5728 

Whan  he  the  trouthe  espied  off  this  thyng: 

That  bi  his  doubter  he  was  deceyued  thus. 

She  wex  to  hym  lothsum  and  odious, 

Fledde  from  his  face,  so  sore  she  was  afferd,         5732 

And  he  pursued  afftir  with  his  suerd. 

In  Arabic,  the  hoote  myhti  lond, 

Kyng  Cinarus  hath  his  doubter  founde, 

And  crueli  he  gan  enhaunse  his  bond,  5736 

With  his  suerd  tayouen  hir  a  wounde; 

But  the  goddis,  off  merci  most  habounde, 

Han  fro  the  deth[e]  maad  hire  [to]  go  fre. 

And  thoruh  ther  power  transfowrmed  to  a  tre.      5740 

Whiche  afftir  hire  berith  yit  the  name,  [p.  71] 

Callid  Mirra,  as  she  was  in  hir  liff. 

Out  off  which,  as  auctours  sey  the  same, 

Distillith  a  gomwe,  a  gret  preseruatiff,  5744 

And  off  nature  a  ful  good  defensiff, 

5710.  But]  For  R.      571 1,  hir]  his  R. 

5718.  weyes  and  meenes  R.       5722.   dronklee  R  3. 

5725.  hir  longe]  hir  silfF  H.       5726.   the  tyme  R,  H. 

5734.  Arabia  H.       5736.   he  gan]  bigan  R. 

5737.  tayouen]  to  yiffen  R  —  his]  hir  H. 

5738.  oflTjoOT.  R.      5743.   as]  om.  R. 

her  nurse  so 
contrived  that 
she  accom- 
plished her 

deceiving  him 
when  drunk. 

But  as  she 

became  preg- 
nant, her 
father  found  it 
out  and  was  so 
angry  that  he 
chased  her  all 
the  way  to 

Arabia,  and 
would  have 
slain  her  had 
not  the  gods 
her  mto  a  tree. 

from  which  we 
obtain  myrrh, 
that  is  very 
useful  for  keep- 
ing dead  bodies 
from  cor- 


Myrrhas  Son  Adonis 

[bk.  I 

Myrrh  is  en- 
gendered by 
the  sunbeams. 

Venus  fell  in 
love  with  him, 

To  keepe  bodies  from  putrefacciou7i 
And  hem  frauwchise  from  al  corrupcioun. 

Bi  influence  off  the  sonne-bemys  5748 

Mirre  is  engendrid,  distillyng  off  his  kynde 

With  rounde  dropis  ageyn[es]  Phebus  stremys, 

And  doun  descendith  thoruh  the  harde  rynde. 

And  thoruh  the  rifftis,  also  as  I  fynde,  5752 

The  said[e]  Mirra  hath  a  child  foorth  brouht, 

In  al  this  world,  that  yifF  it  be  weel  souht, 

Myrrha's  child  Was  non  SO  faitfe]  fourmed  bi  nature; 

was  called  .—  „...  .  . 

Adonis,  and      i^  ot  ott  his  beute  he  was  pereles.  5756 

And  as  poetis  recorden  bi  scripture, 
He  callid  was  the  faire  Adonydes; 
And  to  his  worshep  and  his  gret  encres  — 
For  he  off  fairnesse  bar  awei  the  flour  —  5760 

Venus  hym  ches  to  been  hir  paramour. 

The  which[e]  goddesse  gaflF  to  hym  in  charge, 

That  he  sholde  in  his  tendre  age, 

In  forestis  whil  he  wente  at  large,  5764 

Hunte  at  no  beestis  which  that  were  sauage; 

But  he  contrary,  to  his  disauauwtage, 

Thoruh  wilfulnesse  —  I  can  sey  you*  no  mor  — 

Was  slayn  onwarli  oflf  a  tusshi  bor,  5768 

At  the  whiche  he  felli  dede  enchace. 

But  off  foli  in  veyn  was  his  labour; 

For  he  lay  slayn,  ful  pale  off^  cheer  &  face. 

Whom  Venus  turned  to  a  ful  fressh[e]  flour  5772 

Which  was  as  blood,  lich  purpil  off^  colour, 

A  budde  off  gold  with  goodli  leuys  glade 

Set  in  the  myddis,  whos  beute  may  nat  fade. 

and  told  him 
not  to  hunt 
beasts  that 
were  savage. 
But  he  paid 
no  attention  to 
her,  and  was 
killed  by  a 
wild  boar. 

Venus  turned 
him  iuto  a 
crimson  flower. 

AND  wha«  [that]  Mirra  fro  Bochas  was 

After  Myrrha 
had  withdrawn 
herself,  Or- 

ma'n.'appeared.  And  hadde  decland  hir  gret  aduersite. 
And  off  hir  fate  told  the  mortal  lawe. 
Cam  Orpheus,  ful  ougli  on  to  see, 
Sone  off  Appollo  and  off  Calliope, 



5764.  at  large^  alarge  R.       5767.   you  sey  B. 

5768.  tusshi]  tuskye  R. 

5773.  as]  a  R  —  lich]  of  R,  J  —  ofF]  the  R,  \,e  J. 

5778.  hir]  his  R. 

BK.  l] 

Orpheus  and  Eurydice 


And  appered  with  a  ful  doolful  face. 
Whilom  brouht  foorth  and  ibom  in  Trace. 

Ful  renommed  in  armys  and  science, 

Famous  in  musik  and  in  melodie,  5784 

And  ful  notable  also  in  eloquence. 

And  for  his  soote  sugred  armonie, 

Beestis,  foulis,  poetis  specefie, 

Wodes,  flodes  off  ther  cours  most  strong,  5788 

Stynt  of*  ther  cours  to  herkne  his  soote  song. 

An  harpe  he  hadde  off  Mercurius, 

With  the  which  Erudice  he  wan; 

And  to  Bachus*,  as  writ  Ouidius,  5792 

Sacrifises  ful  solempne  he  began, 

And  onto  helle  for  his  wifF  he  ran, 

Hir  to  recure  with  soote  touchis  sharpe 

Which  that  he  made  vpon  his  heuenli  harpe.         5796 

But  whan  that  he  this  labour  on  hym  took, 

A  lawe  was  maad[e]  which  that  bond  hym  sore, 

That  yifF  that  he  bakward  caste  his  look. 

He  sholde  hire  lese  &  seen  his  wifF  no  more:  5800 

But  it  is  seid[e]  sithen  gon  ful  yore, 

Ther  may  no  lawe  louers  weel  constreyne, 

So  inportable  is  ther  dedli  peyne. 

Yiff  summe  husbondis  hadde  stonden  in  the  cas  5804 

Ta*  lost  her  wyues  for  a  look  sodeyne, 

Thei  wolde  ha[ue]  sufFred  and  nat  seid  alias, 

But  pacientli  endured  al  ther  peyne, 

And  thanked  God,  that  broken  was  the  cheyne    5808 

Which  hath  so  longe  hem*  in  prisoun  bounde. 

That  thei  be  grace  han  such  a  fredam  founde. 

To  lyn  in  prisoun,  it  is  a  ful  gret  charge. 

And  to  be  stokked  vndir  keie  and  lok;  5812 

It  were  weel  meriere  a  man  to  gon  at  large, 

He  was  famous 
for  his  music 
and  eloquince. 
Even  the  rivers 
ceased  to  now 
when  he  sang. 

Mercuo'  gave 
him  a  harp, 
with  which  he 
won  Eurj-dice 
back  from  hell. 

He  was  not  to 
look  behind, 
else  he  would 
lose  her. 

But  I  think 
there  are  some 
husbands  who, 
if  a  sudden 
look  had  lost 
them  their 
would  have 
put  up  with  it 
very  patiently 
and  thanked 

It  is  much 
more  pleasant 
to  be  free 
than  nailed  to 
a  block. 

5781.  appered]  appeere  H  —  ful]  om.  R. 

5782.  Whilom]  Some  tyme  R.         5783.    and]  &  in  R,  J,  H  5. 
5789.  Stynt  of]  Styntid  B  —  ther]  om.  H  5.      5790.   herpe  H. 

5792.  Bachus]  bochas  B,  R  3. 

5793.  ful  solempne]  solenne  R. 

5799.  bakkard   R.       5803.   Importable  H. 

5805.  Ta]  To  ha  B  —  in  MS.  J.  opposite  this  stanza  in  a  laUr 

band:    "  a  trew  saying." 

5807.  ther]  the  R.       5809.   hem  so  longe  B. 

581 1,  lyn]  ligge  R,  Hue  P.       5812.   be]  ly  H. 

5813.  meriere]  myrie  R,  merie  J,  mery  H  5. 


Orpheus^  Advice  to  Husbands 

[bk.  I 

However,  Or- 
pheus loved 
Eurydice,  and, 
after  all,  lost 

and  never 
married  again. 
He  got  off 
very  easily.     A 
man  who  once 
escapes  the 
snare  isn't  apt 
to  go  back  to 

Than  with  Irenes  be  nailed  to  a  blok: 
And  there  is  o  bond,  which  calHd  is  wedlok, 
Fretyng  husbondis  so  sore,  that  it  is  wonder,        5816 
Which  with  no  file  may  nat  be  broke  assonder. 

But  Orpheus,  fadir  off  armonye, 

Thouhte  Erudice,  which  was  his  wiff,  so  fair, 

For  hir  sake  he  felte  he  muste  deie,  5820 

Because  that  he,  whan*  he  made  his  repair. 

Off  hir  [in]  trouthe  enbracid  nothyng  but  hair. 

Thus  he  lost  hire,  there  is  no  mor  to  seyne; 

And  for  the  constreynt  ofF  his  greuous  peyne,       5824 

At  his  herte  hir  partyng  sat  so  sore,  [p.  72] 

The  greene  memorie*,  the  tendre  remembrauwce, 

That  he  neuer  wolde  wyuen  more. 

So  faire  he  was  escapid  his  penauwce;  5828 

For  wedlok  is  a  lifF  off  most  plesaunce. 

But  who  hath  onys  infernal  peynys  seyn, 

Will  neuer  his  thankis  come  in  the  snare  ageyn.^ 

Orpheus  gave 
very  important 
advice  to  hus- 
bands; he  said 
that  if  one  hell 

This  Orpheus  gaff  couwseil  ful  notable 
To  husbondis  that  han  endurid  peyne. 
To  such  as  been  prudent  and  tretable: 
wor«'!'  ^''°  "^  Oon  hell  is  dreedful,  mor  pereilous  be  tweyne; 
And  who  is  onys  bouwdyn  in  a  cheyne. 
And  may  escapen  out  off  dauwger  blyue  — 
Yiff  he  resorte,  God  let  hym  neuer  thryue! 

But  women 
were  not 
edified  by 
these  words,  and 
so  they  slew 
him  at  the 
festival  of 

On  this  sentence  women  wer  vengable. 
And  to  his  writyng  ful  contrarious, 
Seide  his  couwseil  was  nat  comendable. 
At  the  feste  thei  halwed  to  Bachus, 
Thei  fill  echon  vpon  tRis  Orpheus; 
And,  for  alle  his  rethoriques  suete, 
Thei  slouh,  alias,  this  laureat  poete. 





5814.  Irnes  R  —  to]  OOT.  R.      5815.  And]  But  R,  J,  H  5. 

5816.  Fretyng]  Fetteryng  R. 

5817.  no]aR,  J,  Hs,  P  — nat]oOT.  R3. 

5820.  he  felte]  felte  that  R. 

5821.  that  he  whan]  whan  that  B. 

5822.  in]  om.  R  —  no  thyng  enbracid  R. 
5826.  memoire  B.  5830.   peyn  R. 
5835.  mor]  &  more  R. 

5839.  On]  Vpon  R.       5844.   rethorik  R. 

^  MS.  J.  leaf  30   verso,  in  red   in   margin: 
secundas  spreuit  nupcias." 

"Ob   quam   c3.m 

BK.  l] 

Marpessa  and  Lampedo 




And  off  his  harpe  yiff  ye  list  to  lere, 
The  god  Appollo  maad  a  translacioun 
Among  the  ymages  off  the  sterns  cleere, 
WTieroff  men*  may  haue  yit  inspeccioun. 
But  Fortune,  to  his  confusioun, 
Denyed  hym,  froward  off  hir  nature, 
Whan  he  was  slajm  fredam  off  sepulture. 

NEXT  Orpheus,  ther  dede  appeere  also 
Off  Amazones  worthi  queenys  tweyne, 
Marpesia  and  hir  suster  Lampedo, 
Which  in  conquest  dede  ther  besi  peyne. 
And  gret  worship  in  armys  dede  atteyne, 
Namyng  hemsilff,  be  writyng  nyh  and  ferr, 
Douhtren  to  Mars,  which  is  the  God  off  Werr. 

Marpesia  rood  out  in  regiouns 
And  conquered  ful  many  a  gret  cite. 
For  couetise  off  gret  possessiouns, 
Tencrece  hir  lordshepe,  yiff  it  wolde  be. 
And  hir  suster  kepte  surli  ther  contre 
From  alle  enmyes,  that  ther  was  no  doute, 
Whil  Marpesia  rood  with  hir  host  aboute. 

But  whil  she  was  in  conquest  most  famous 
And  hir  enmyes  proudli  dede  assaile. 
Fortune  anon  wex  contrarious. 
And  causid  she  was  slay[e]n  in  bataile. 
Loo,  what  conquest  or  victory  may  auaile. 
Whan  that  Fortune  doth  at  hem  disdeyne; 
Seeth  heer  exaumple  bi  these  queenys  tweyne. 

^  Lenvoye. 

THIS  tragedie  reme^wbrith  thynges  fyue: 
Off  Narcisus  thexcellent  beute. 
And  off  Biblis  doth  also  descryue 
The  grete  luxur[y]e  and  dishoneste, 
Mirra  diffamed,  turned  to  a  tre, 

5846.  OpposiU  this  stanza  the  follotoing  rubric  in  MS.  J.  leaf 
29  b.  margin:  "Ouidius  X°.  et  XJ°.  de  transformitis." 

5846.   lere]  here  R,  J.       5847.   god]  god  of  R. 

5849.  men]  man  B,  H  —  yit]  clere  J,  H  5  —  haue  yit]  vitte 
have  cleer  R. 

5863.   lordshippis  H.       5865.   From]  Off  R  —  that]  so  bat  R. 

5871.  what]  om.  R.       5876.   doth]  deth  R. 

5877.  luxurye]  luxuride  R, 

You  can  see 

his  harp  in  the 
sky,  for  ApoUo 
translated  it  to 
the  stars. 

Two  queens  of 
the  Amazons 
followed  Or- 

Marpessa  and 





Marpessa  wa« 

slain  in  battle, 
cg5g  a  common  fate 
■^  of  conquerors. 




tragedies  shew 
that  licentious- 
ness and  pri  Je 
are  very  far 
removed  from 

1 66 

Priam  of  Troy  and  Troy  Book 


Orpheus'  life 
was  of  mingled 
joy  and  ad- 

Texemplefie  that  lecherie  and  pride 
Been  from  al  vertu  set  ful  ferr  a-side. 

How  Orpheus  endured  in  his  lyue 

loie  entirmedlid  with  aduersite; 

In  his  youthe  whan  he  dede  wyue 

He  felte  in  wedlok  ful  gret  feHcite, 

His  woridli  blisse  meynt  with  duplicite, 

As  Fortune  hir  chaungis  gan  deuyde, 

Which  from  al  vertu  be  set  ful  ferr  a-side. 

Marpessa  made  Marpcsia,  for  hir  list  to  stryue 

war  wantonly      _...    ,  ..^    ,  .  "^    ,   . 

and  came  to  a  With  wiliul  wems  tencrecen  hir  contre, 

sudden  end.         t»         i  •  111 

but  hir  pompe  was  ouerturned  biyue, 
Whan  in  bataile  vnwarli  slayn  was  she: 
For  off  al  werre  deth  is  the  fyn  parde, 
So  furious  Mars  can  for  his  folk  prouide, 
Which  from  al  vertu  is  set  ful  ferr  a-side. 



Princes,  flee 
pride  and  lust, 
and  do  not  be 
guided  by 
avarice.    Such 
things  are  set 
far  aside 
from  virtue. 

Ye  myhti  Pryncis,  lat  wit  and  resouw  dryue 
Your  hih  noblesse  to  considre  and  see 
How  Fortune  estatis  can  depryue 
And  plunge  hem  down  from  ther  prosperite. 
Pride  and  luxure,  I  couwsaile,  that  ye  fle, 
Fals  auarice  ne  lat  nat  be  your  guide, 
Which  from  al  vertu  is  set  ful  ferr  a-side. 




After  this, 
Bochas  began 
to  think  of 

[Off  Priamus  kyng  of  Troye,  and  how  the  monke  of 
Bury  translatour  of  this  book  wroot  a  boke  of 
the  siege  of  Troye  callid  Troye  book.]  ^ 

AFFTIR  these  compleyntis  &  lamentaciouns, 
Which  [that]  Bochas  dede  in  his  book  compile, 
Medlid  among  with  transformaciouns  5904 

Set  in  Ouide  be  ful  souereyn  stile. 
Whan  he  on  hem  hadde  musid  a  long  while, 
Seyn  the*  maner  bothe  off  ther  sorwe  &  ioie, 
He  gan  remembre  on  Priamus  off  Troie.  5908 

5889.  hir]  his  H. 

5894.  v<rrtues  R. 

5895.  This  stanza  is  omitted  in  R.         5899.   luxurye  H. 
5904.  transmutaciouns  R. 

5907.  the]  ther  B  —  of  ther]  the  R,  H. 

5908.  to  remembre  R  —  on]  of  R,  H. 

'MS.  J.  leaf  31  recto. 

BK.  l] 

Priam  and  the  Troy  Book 


First  off"  his  berthe  and  off*  his  kenreede,  [p.  73] 

How  among  k3mges  he  was  most  famous; 

And  as  poetis  recorde  off"  hym  in  deede, 

He  descendid  of  worthi  Dardanus,  5912 

Which,  as  his  lyne  declareth  onto  vs, 

From  lubiter  was  lyneaH  come  doun 

Onto  his  fader  caUid  kyng  Lamedoun. 

Off"  olde  Troie  this  Lamedoun  was  kyng;  5916 

Destroied  hi  Grekis  he  and  his  contre. 

Afftir  whom,  [this]  Priamus  regnyng, 

Made  there  ageyn  a  myhti  strong  cite, 

Where  he  ful  longe  in  ful  gret  rialte,  5920 

With  wiff^  and  childre,  most  worthi  of  renoun, 

With  sceptre  &  crowne  heeld  possessioun. 

Gouemed  his  cite  in  pes  and  rihtwisnesse. 

And  Fortune  was  to  hym  fauourable;  5924 

For  off"  al  Asie  the  tresour  and  richesse 

He  dede  assemble,  this  kyng  most  honourable. 

And  in  armys  he  was  so  comendable, 

That  thoruh  the  world  as  ferr  as  men  may  gon,    592S 

Off"  hih  noblesse  the  renoun  off"  hym  shon. 

This  Priamus  hadde  childre  many  00^ 

Worthi  pryncis,  &  ofi^  ful  gret  myht; 

Bat  Ector  was  among  hem  euerichon  5932 

Callid  ofi^  prowesse  the  lanteme  &  the  lyht; 

For  ther  was  neuer  bom  a  bettir  knyht. 

Troilus  in  knyhthod  so  manli  eek  was  founde, 

That  he  was  named  Ector  the  secouwde.  5936 

But  yiff"  I  shulde  reherse  the  manheede 

Ofi^  kyng  Priam  &  off"  his  sonys  all. 

And  how  his  cite  besieged*  was  in  deede. 

And  al  the  story  to  remembraunce  call,  5940 

Tween  hym  &  Grekis  how  it  is  befall, 

The  circumstaunces  rehersjmg  vp  &  doun, 

To  sette  in  ordre  the  firste  occasioun 

Off^  the  siege,  whi  it  was  first  laid  5944 

Bi  Hercules  and  also  bi  lason,  — 
The  maner  hool  in  Troie  Book  is  said, 

5912,  Dardanus]  Dacianus  R,  Damamus  J,  H  5. 

5918.   this]  om.  H,  R3. 

5921.   wiff]  his  wiff  R.         5922.   heeld]  heeld  the  R. 

5924.   hym]  om.  R.       5925.   all  of  R.       5933.   &  the]  of  R. 

S93S.  eek]  om.  R.      5939.  besegied  B.      5941.   Betwene   R. 

who  was  a 
•descendant  of 
and  Jupiter 
through  his 

He  ruled  in 
I>eace  and 

and  had  many 
children,  of 
whom  Hector 
and  Troflus 
were  the  best 

But  there  is  no 
need  of  my 
telling  you  his 
story  here. 

for  I  have 
already  told  it 
as  well  as  I 
could  in  the 
Troy  Book, 

1 68 

King  Henry  V  and  the  Troy  Book 

[bk.  I 

which  I  trans- 

for  King  Henry 
the  Fifth,  who 
was  a  very 
great  man, 

chief  defender 
of  the  church, 
an  enemy  of 
the  Lollards, 
and  diligent  to 

peace  to  Eng- 
land and 

Alas,  he  died 
too  soon! 

May  God  give 
his  soul  good 
rest  with  holy 
saints  in 

Reudli  endited  ofF  my  translacioun, 

Folwyng  vpon  the  destruccloun  5948 

Callid  the  seconde,  which,  hi  acountis  cleer, 

Fulll  endured  the  space  ofF  ten  yeer, — 

For,  as  me  semeth,  the  labour  were  in  veyn. 

Treuli  also  I  not  to  what  entent,  5952 

That  I  shold[e]  write  it  newe  ageyn; 

For  I  hadde  onys  in  comauwdement, 

Bi  hym  that  was  most  noble  &  excellent 

OfF  kynges  all[e],  for  to  vndirtake  5956 

It  to  translate  and  write  it  for  his  sake. 

And  yifF  ye  list  to  wetyn  whom  I  meene, 

Henry  the  FifFte,  most  myhti  ofF  puissauwce, 

GafF  me  the  charge  ofF  entent  most  cleene,  5960 

Thyng  ofF  old  tyme  to  putte  in  remembraunce. 

The  same  Henry,  for  knyhtli  suffisaunce, 

Worthi  for*  manhod,  reknyd  kynges  all, 

With  nyne  worthi  for  to  haue  a  stall.  5964 

To  hooli  chirch  he  was  chiefF  defensour; 

In  alle  such  causes  Cristes  chosen  knyht. 

To  stroie  Lollardis  he  sette  al  his  labour, 

Loued  alle  vertues,  and  to  sustene  riht,  5968 

Thoruh  his  noblesse,  his  manhod  &  his  myht, 

Was  dilligent  &  dede  his  besi  peyne 

To  ha[ue]  set  pes  atween[e]  rewmys  tweyne,  — • 

I  meene,  in  sooth,  twen  Ing[e]land  &  Fraunce,      5972 

His  purpos  was  taue  had  a  pes  fynall, 

Souhte  out  menys  with  many  circuwstauwce, 

As  weel  be  trete  as  actis  marciall, 

Theron  iupartid  goodis,  lifF  and  all.  5976 

But,  o  alias,  ageyn  deth  is  no  boone! 

This  lond  may  seyn  he  deied  al  to  soone. 

For  a-mong  kynges  he  was  oon  the  beste, 

So  alle  his  deedis  conueied  were  with  grace.  5980 

I  pray  to  God,  so  yiue  his  soule  good  teste, 

With  hooli  seyntis  in  heuene  a  duellyng-place. 

For  heere  with  vs  to  litil  was  the  space 

5954.   MS.  J:    "the  monke    of  Bury,"   rubricated  in  margin, 

leaf  31  b. 
5959,  62.   Herry  R,  H. 

5963.   for]  off  B  —  reknyd]  rekene  R,  J,  reken  H  5,  P. 
5967.   stroie  Lollardis]  destrye  heritykes  R.      5975.  be]  om.  R. 
5976.   liff  goodis  R.  5981.   so]  to  R,  R  3,  om.  H. 

BK.  l] 

The  Story  of  Troy 


That  he  abood;  off  whom  the  remembraunce 
Shal  neuer  deie  in  Ingland  nor  in  Fraunce. 

This  worthi  kyng  gaff  to  me  in  charge, 
In  Inglissh  tunge  make  a  translacioun 
Out  off  Latyn,  withynne  a  volum  large, 
How  longe  the  Grekis  lay  afor  the  touw. 
And  how  that  Paris  first  at  Citheroun 
In  Venus  temple  slili  dede  his  peyne 
Ther  to  rauesshe  the  faire  queen  Heleyne. 




He  bade  me 
translate  the 
whole  story 
from  Latin 
into  English. 
It  tells  how 
Paris  carried 
oflF  Helen  and 
married  her, 
how  Menelaus 
and  Agamem- 
non besieged 

In  which[e]  book  the  processe  ye  may  see:        [p.  74] 

To  hym  how  she  was  weddid  in  the  toun. 

And  off  the  siege  leid  to  the  cite 

Be  Menelay  and*  kyng  Agamenoun,*  5996 

And  many  another  ful  worthi  off  renoun 

On  outher  party,  which  that  in  bataile 

Fro  day  to  day  ech  other  dede  assaile. 

What  sholde  I  telle,  or  wherto  sholde  I  write        6000 

The  deth  off  Ector  or  off  Achilles  ? 

Or  wherto  sholde  I  now  off  newe*  endite 

How  worthi  Troilus  was  slayn  among  the  pres  ?  — 

The  eende  off  Paris  or  off  Pallamydes,  6004 

Or  the  slauhtre  off  manli  Deiphebus, 

Or  how  his  brother,  callid  Helenus, 

Told  affom  how  it  was  gret  folie 

That  Paris  sholde  wedde  the  queen  Heleyne;        6008 

And  how  Cassandra  in  hir  prophecie 

On  this  weddyng  sore  gan  compleyne, 

And  for  the  constreynt  off  hir  hertly  peyne. 

How  she  wex  mad  and  ran  aboute  the  toun  6012 

Til  she  was  cauht  and  shet  up  in  prisoun. 

Alle  these  materis  ye  may  beholde  in  deede 
Set  bi  and  bi  withynne  Troie  Book, 
And  how  Cressaide  loued  Diomeede, 

how  Hector, 
Achilles,  Paris 
and  others 

how  Cassandra 
foretold  the 
evil  that  would 
follow  if  Paris 
wedded  Helen, 
and  how 
they  shut  her 
up  in  prison 
for  her  noise, 
and  how 
Cressida  for- 
sook Troilus 
for  Diomedes. 


5986.  to]  om.  R. 

5989.  to  fore  R.      5992.   rauesshe]  reioissh  R. 

5995-  to]  vnto  R. 

5996.  Menelay]  Meneldy  R,  H  5,  meneldi  J  —  and]  and  be  B 

—  Agamenoun]  Lamedoun  B,  R,  H,  J,  H  5,  R  3. 

5998.  eithir  R. 

6002.  now  off  newe]  off  newe  now  B,  R  —  now]  om.  J. 

6008.  the]  this  R.      6010.   this]  the  R —  bi  gan  R. 

6014.  these  materis]  this  mateer  R,  this  matter  P. 

6016.  how]  om.  R  —  Crisseide  H. 

170  Tou  must  read  the  Troy  Book  !  [^bk.  i 

Whan  worthi  Trollus  she  wIlfulH  forsook: 

Off  hir  nature  a  quarel  thus  she  took, 

Tassaie  bothe,  yiff  neede  eek  wer,  to  feyne 

To  take  the  thridde,  &  leue  hem  bothe  tweyne.    6020 

Nor  will  I  tell  I  [wil]  passe  ouer  and  telle  off  hir  no  more; 

Greeks  finally    Not  bi  what  menys  Grekis  wan  the  toun  — 

won  the  town,    tt  t^  i  i  a        i 

and  of  their      How  Lueas,  nor  how  that  Anthenore 
rn'their"home-  Ageyn  kyng  Priam  conspired  fals  tresoun,  6024 

rnd'oteses  Nor  how  Vlixes  gat  Palladioun  — 
and  Penelope,    ^hc  deth  off  PHam  not  Heccuba  the  queene, 
Nor  how  that  Pirrus  slouh  yonge  Polliceene. 
v^ou  must  read  Nor  hcer  to  writc,  it  is  nat  myn  entent,  6028 

Repair  off  Grekis  horn  to  ther  contre, 
Afftir  the  cite  and  Ylioun  was  brent, 
Nor  off  ther  myscheuys  thei  hadde  in  the  se, 
Nor  how  Vlixes  fond  Penolope  6032 

A  trewe  wiff,  thouh  he  were  longe  hir  fro;  — 
Thoruhout  al  Grece  I  can  reede  off  no  mo. 
Off  these  materes  thus  I  make  an  eende: 
What  fell  off  Grekis  afftir  ther  viage,  6036 

To  Troie  Book  the  folk  echon  I  sende, 
Which  haue  desir  to  seen  the  surplusage, 
How  Grekis  first  maden  ther  passage 
Towardis  Troie,  besegyng  the  cite  —  6040 

Redith  the  story;  —  ye  gete  no  mor  off  me. 

f  Bochas  ageyn  t)e  surquedous  pride  of  hem  that 
trusten  m  her  riches.^ 

o^y<j^p^"<^       "VT^E  proude  folkis  that  sette*  your  affiaunce 
trust  in  A     In  strengthe,  beute  or  in  hih  noblesse, 

strength,  beauty, -I  r/T-  •  i        t-> 

nobility, wealth,  lit  ye  considre  rortunys  variauwce,  6044 

remember  a      J  J  cr  j 

Priam's  fate!     And  coude  a  merout  aitor  your  eyen  dresse 

6019.   eek  wer^  wer  al  so  R,  were  also  J,  H  5. 

6021.  wil]  om.  R,  R  3,  P,  H  5  —  hir]  it  J. 

6022.  Nor]  Neithir  R,  J. 

6023.  nor]  neithir  R,  j,  H  5,  P  —  that]  om.  H,  J,  P,  H  5. 
6025,  26.  Nor]  Neithir  R.        6026.  of  Heccuba  R. 
6029.  to]  in  to  R. 

6031.  Nor]  Neithir  R  —  myscheuys]  myschefFe  R,  myschef  J, 
mischief  P,  myschifFe  H  5  —  hadden  H. 

6032.  Nor]  Neithir  R. 

6637.   the  folk  echon]  tho  folke  R.       6041.   Redith]  Rede  R. 
6042.   sette]  setten  B.        6043.   ira  beute  R. 

^"Here  spekith  Bochas  the  AuctOMr  of  this  book/  a-yenst  the 
surquedous  pride  of  hem  that  trust/  in  richesse  seying  thise 
wordys  vnto  hem."     MS.   J.   leaf  31   verso. 

BK.  i^        An  Envoy  against  the  Pride  of  great  Wealth  171 

CMF  kyng  Priam  and  off  his  gret  richesse, 

To  seen  how  he  and  [how]  his  children  all 

From  ther  noblesse  so  sodenli  be  fall !  6048 

Ector  off  knyhthod  callid  sours  and  well, 

Sad  and  demur  &  famous  off  prudence, 

Paris  also  in  beute  dede  excell, 

And  Helenus  in  parfit  prouidence;  6052 

Troilus  in  armys  hadde  gret  experience, 

Eek  Deiphebus  preued  manli  on  his  fon: 

Yit  in  the  werre  thei  wer  slayn  euerichon. 

Hadde  nat  this  kyng,  eek  as  I  can  deuise,  6056 

Noble  Eccuba,  which  that  was  the  queene, 

A  doubter  callid  Cassandra  the  wise, 

Hir  yonge  suster  faire  Polliceene  ?  — 

Alias,  alias!  what  may  such  pride  meene!  6060 

For  al-be-it  ther  renoun  sprang  ful  ferre, 

Yit  were  these  women  deuoured  in  the  werre. 

Was  he  nat  myhti  &  strong  in  all[e]  thynges. 

And  hadde  also  off  his  alliaunce  6064 

Riht  worthi  princis,  &  many  riche  kynges. 

And  nyh  al  Asie  vndir  obeisaunce  ?  — 

Holde  in  his  tyme  most  famous  off  puissaunce, 

Most  renomwed  off  richesse  and  tresours,  6068 

Til  that  Fortune  with  hir  sharp[e]  shours. 

Whan  that  he  sat  hiest  on  hir  wheel,  [p.  75] 

This  blynde  goddesse  gan  hym  to  assaile. 

Hir  froward  malice,  he  felte  it  ful  weel:  6072 

His  gold,  his  tresour  first  thei  gan  to  faile. 

And  dirke  gan  his  roial  apparaile. 

Be  which  exauwple  all  proude  men  may  see 

The  onseur  trust,  the  mutabilite,  6076 

Which  in  this  world  is  seyn  &  found*  aid  ay. 
Mid  off  estatis  in  ther  magnyficence, 
Ebbe  afftir  flowe  maketh  no  delay. 

Hector,  Paris, 
Hdeaus,  —  all 
were  slain. 

Hecuba,  Cas- 
sandra, and 
fair  Polyiena, 
—  tliey  too 
were   devoured 
in  the  war. 

Was  not 

Priam  mighty? 
Had  he  not 
worthy  allies 
and  almost 
all  Asia  under 
hi*  rale? 

When  he  sat 
highest  on  her 
wheel,_  Fortune 
cast  him  down. 

Each  man  must 
take  his  turn 
as  it  comes 

6047.  2nd  how]  om.  R,  J,  H  5,  P. 

6054.  Eek]  Also  R  —  on]  in  R. 

6055.  euerichon]  echone  H. 

6056.  eek]  also  R.       6059.   faire]  yong  H. 
6060.  such]  al  sich  R.      6063.  Was]  What  R. 
6066.  vndir]  vndir  his  R.       6071.   began  R. 
6073.  thei]  it  R.       6074.   derken  R. 

6077.  found]  founden  B.      6078.  In  myddis  of  statis  R. 


The  Praise  of  Poverty 


But  halt  hir  cours;  there  is  no  resistence:  6080 

The  tide  abit  nat  for  no  violence; 
Ech  man  that  standith  off  chauwges  heer  in  doute 
Mut  take  his  turn  as  it  cometh  a-boute. 

Let  Priam  be  a  Let  Priam  been  to  you  a  cleer  merour, 

clear  mirror  to 
you,  proud 
people,  who 




Ye  proude  folkis,  that  sette  your  affiaunce 
put  your  trust  In  such  veyn  glorie,*  which  fadith  as  a  flour, 
thatTdes°as'a  And  hath  ofF  bcute  heer  noon  attend aunce. 
flower.  Yhe  world  to  you  cast  a  ful  bittir  chauwce: 

For  whan  ye  wene*  sitte  hiest  atte  fulle, 
Than  will  she  rathest  your  briht[e]  fethres  pulle. 

You  have  had    Ye  han  wamyngis  for  to  taken  heed 
enough  of  how  Bexauwple  off  other,  cleer  &  riht  visible, 
m°ngied  with'    How  worldli  blisse  is  medlid  ay  with  dreed. 
dread.  p^^^  yjj^  your  rcsouns  and  wittis  be  sensible, 

Thyng  seyn  at  eye  is  nat  incredible; 
And  al  this  doctryn  is  to  you  in  veyn,  6096 

YifF  in  your  tyme  ye  ha[ue]  no  chauwges  seyn. 

Bochas'  advice  Whcrforc  Bochas  onto  your  auail 

is  to  leave  t^    i  i  i-  i  •      • 

your  vices  and  T  ui  prudeutli  put  you  at  this  issu: 
nlm  who  ca^n    Fitst  of  all  he  yeueth  you  this  couwsail,  6100 

time  of  need.     To  leue  yout  viccs  &  take  you  to  vertu, 
And  sette  your  trust  al  hooli  on  \es\x'. 
For  he  may  best  in  myscheefF  helpe,  &  neede, 
OfF  worldli  chauwges  that  ye  thar  nat  dreede.        6104 

When  great 
lords  and  dig- 
nitaries sit 
highest  on  their 
thrones,  the 
hour  of  their 
decline  ap- 

f  The  preis  of  Bochas  &  suerte  that  stondith  m 

THESE  grete  lordshipes,  these  hih[e]  dignites, 
CheefF  thyng  annexid  onto  ther  regalie, 
Whan  thei  sitten  hiest  in  ther  sees, 
And  round  aboute  stant  ther  cheualrie,  6108 

Dreed  entreth  in,  pereil  and  envie, 
And  onwar  chauMg[e],  which  no  man  may  knowe, 
The  hour  whan  Fortune  will  make  hew  loute  lowe. 

6081.   abyde  R. 

6086.   gloire  B.       6089.   wenen  B,  R. 

6094.   wittis  &  resouns  R.       6099.   Ful3  &  H. 

6104.   chaunges3  thynges  H  —  dare  not  R. 

6106,8.   ther]  the  R.      61 11.   loute]  om.    H. 

'"Here  also,  John  Bochas  put  a  grete  preisyng  and  a  com- 
mendacioun  of  suerte  bat  stondith  in  pouerte  /  vnder  thise 
wordis  in  sentence."     MS.  J.  leaf  32  recto. 

BK.  l] 

The  Praise  of  Poverty 


Thei  may  weel  holden  a  statli  gret  houshold,        61 12 
With  a  veyn  trust  ther  power  sholde  ay  laste, 
Clad  in  ther  mantles  off  purpil,  perle  &  gold, 
And  on  the  wheel  off  Fortune  clymbe  up  faste  — 
Lich  as  she  myhte  neuer  doun  hem  caste;  6116 

But  ay  the  hiere  ther  clymbyng  is  att  all, 
Alias,  the  sorere  is  ther  onhappi  fall. 

The  fal  off  Priam  and  kyng  Agamenoun 

Ouhte  off  riht  mor  to  be  compleynyd,  6120 

Whan  Fortune  hadde  hem  puUid  doun 

And  off  hir  malice  hath  at  hem  disdeynyd. 

Than  yiff  thei  neuer  to  worshepe  hadde  atteynyd; 

But  ther  fallyng  was  the  more  greuous  6124 

Because  thei  wern  toforn  so  glorious. 

O  thou  Pouert,  meek,  humble  and  debonaire, 

Which  that  kepest  the  lawes  off  Nature, 

For  sodeyn  chaunges  thou  wilt  nat  disespaire,      6128 

So  art  thou  frauwchised  fro  Fortunys  lure; 

AUe  hir  assautis  thou  lowli  doost  endure, 

That  she  may  haue  no  iurediccioun 

To  interupte  thi  possessioun.  6132 

Thou  settist  litil  bi  al  worldli  richesse, 

Nor  be  his  tresours  which  be  transitorie; 

Thou  scomest  hem  that  ther  sheltrouns  dresse 

Toward  batailles  for  conquest  and  victorie;  6136 

Thou  despisist  al  shynyng  off  veynglorie, 

Laude  off  tryuwphes  which  conquerours  ha[ue]  souht. 

With  all  ther  pillages,  thou  settist  hem  at  nouht. 

Thou  dispreisist  al  superfluite;  6140 

Non  infortunye  may  chaunge  thi  corage: 

And  the  shippis  that  saile  bi  the  se 

With  marchaundise  among  the  floodis  rage, 

Ther  auentures  and  ther  pereilous  passage  —        6144 

L);^,  bodi,  good,  al  put  in  auenture 

Onii  for  lucre,  gret  richesse  to  recure  — 

6114.   mantell  R  —  perle]  perre  H.      6118.  ther]  the  R. 

61 19.  kyng]  of  R.       6122.   hir]  owi.  R. 

6125.   to  fore  thei  wer  R.       6127.   lawe  H. 

6128.   dispaire  R.       613 1.   iurisdiccion  R. 

6134.  Nor]  Neithlr  R.      6136.   batalle  R  —  and]  or  R. 

6137.  dispisith  R  —  off]  or  R. 

6138.  tryuTwphe  H  —  souht]  wrouht  H. 

6140.  dispreisist]  despisest  H. 

6141.  Non]  nor  noon  H.   6144.  2nd  ther]  om.  R. 

The  more  im- 
posing their 
household  and 
the  greater 
their  state,  the 
more  unhappy 
their  fall. 

It  were  better 
had  Priam  and 
never  been 

Poverty  is  free 
from  the 
assaults  of 

He  sets  little 
store  by  wealth 
and  scorns 
conquest,  vain 

and  all  super- 
fluity. He  does 
not  risk  his  life 
at  sea  for  the 
take  of  riches 


The  Praise  of  Poverty 

[bk.  I 

His  wealth  is 

or  quarrel  over  QfF  al  such  thyng  thou  talccst  Htil  hecdc,  [p.  76] 

rewards,  which  Nor  ofF  that  pccplc  that  mancrcs  do  purchace,      6148 
to  leave  for-      NoF  ofF  pledcrcs,  which  for  lucre  &  meede 
^^"'  Meyntene  quarells  &  questis  doon  enbrace, 

Thou  hem  beholdest  with  a  ful  stille  face, 
Ther  sotil  werkyng  souht  out  for  the  nonys,  6152 

And  sodenli  departe  from  al  attonys. 

Thou  canst  in  litil  also  haue  suffisauwce, 

And  art  content  with  ful  smal  dispence; 

For  thi  richesse  and  thyn  habundaunce  6156 

Withoute  gruchchyng  is  humble  pacience. 

YifF  any  man  do  to  the  offence, 

Thou  foryetist  and  lihtli  canst  foryiue; 

To  the  suffisith  so  [that]  thou  maist  lyue.  6160 

In  summer  the  Xhc  stctrid  hcuene  is  thi  couerture 

starry  sky  and    ^  111 

the  green  leaves  In  somet  sesoun;  vnder  the  leuys  greene 

e  er,  'pj^^^  makcst  thi  duellyng  &  doost  thiselfF  assure 
Ageyn  gret  heetis  off  the  sunne  sheene:  6164 

Content  with  frutis  &  watir  cristal  cleene 
To  staunche  thyn  hunger  &  thi  thrustis  sore, 
Afftir  the  sesouns,  &  carest  for  no  more. 

and  in  winter    Pouert  eek  Hggith  the  colde  wyntris  nyht  6168 

he  lies  on  straw ._,  .  ,    .        °°       i  •   i  i 

without  com-     Wrappid  m  strauh,  withoute  compleynynge; 
Withoute  dreed  he  go[e]th  glad  and  liht. 
And  tofor  theuys  he  merili  doth  synge: 
He*  goth  also  withoute  paryschyng*  6172 

Fro  lond  to  lond  among[es]  poore  &  riche; 
For  freend  and  fo  to  hym  be  bothe  aliche. 

Seneca  says       Motal  Scnec  Tccordeth  be  writyng, 

Poverty  is  the  Richest  off  thynges  is  Glad  Pouerte,  6176 

things,  content  Euet  off  o  cheer[e],  void  off  al  gruchchyng, 

Idver^sity"*^ '"     Bothe  in  ioie  and  in  aduersite: 

Thoruh  al  the  world[e]  last  hir  liberte, 

And  hir  fraunchise  stant  in  so  gret  ese,  6180 

That  off  hir  fredam  no  man  will  hir  displese. 

plaining,  and 
sings  merrily 
before  thieves; 
for  he  can 
journey  from 
land  to  land 
without  fear. 

6148.  Nor]  Or  R. 

6149.  Nor]  Nelthir  R  —  pletours  R,  pleters  H. 
6159.  canst]  dost  H. 

6161.  thi]  the  H.       6166.   thi]  thyne  R.       6168.   eek]  also  R. 

6172.  He]  She  B,  J,  H,  H  5,  R  3,  P  —  paryschyng]  patisynge 

B,  patisyng  J,  H  5,  patisshyng  H,  parisynge  R  3,  paryschyng 


6174.  hym]  her  P  —  be  both  to  hym  H  —  I-lyche  R. 

6179.  lastith  R.       6180.   hir]  his  H. 

BK.  l] 

Zenocrates  and  Diogenes 


She  is  nonce  off  studie  &  off  doctryne, 
In  vertuous  labour  doth  hir  dilligence; 
And  off  sciences,  which  that  be  dyuyne, 
She  is  callid  mooder  be  clerkis,  in  sentence. 
Off  philisophres  most  had  in  reuerence, 
Fortune  and  she  so  ferr  assonder  varie, 
That  ech  to  other  off  custum  is  contrarie. 

of  study, 
mother  of 



Hir  hertili  ioie  is  for  to  lyue  in  pes, 

Hateth  tumulte,  noise  and  disturbaunce; 

For  hir  disciple,  calHd  Zenocrates, 

In  wilful  pouert  set  hooli  his  plesauwce,  6192 

Sobre  off  his  port,  thoruh  whose  attemp[e]raunce 

Ful  many  a  man  bexauwple  off  his  techyng 

Wer  brouht  to  vertu  fro  vicious  lyuyng. 

His  diete  was  so  mesurable 

And  deuoid  off  superfluite. 

That  his  corage  he  kepte  ferme  &  stable, 

Fro  flesshli  lustis  he  was  so  attempre: 

Resoun  maistred  his  sensualite, 

Desirs  onleefful  for  to  sette  a-side; 

Duryng  his  liff  Pouert  was  his  guide. 

His  abidyng  and  conuersacioun 

Was  in  placis  that  were  solitarie;  6204 

Mong  trees  &  wellis  he  bilt  hym  a  donioun, 

With  multitude  he  hated  for  to  tarie: 

For  Pouerte  was  his  secretarie, 

Sobre  off  his  cheer  &  stable  off  his  entent,  6208 

And  in  Ath^nes  first  to  scoole  he  went. 

He  was  so  myhti  off  auctorite, 

Rihtwisnesse  &  iustice  to  obserue, 

That  rihtful  iuges  his  sentence  took  at  gre:  6212 

He  coude  his  mouth  &  tunge  so  weel  preserue. 

That  in  the  temple  onys  off  Mynerue, 

Withoutyn  oth,  onto  his  sentence. 

To  that  he  saide  the  iuges  gaff  credence.  6216 

Poverty  hates 
noise  and 

Zenocrates  was 
her  disciple. 

6106     Moderate  in  all 
things,  guided 
only  hf  reason. 


he  loved  soli- 
tary places  and 
buUt  him  a 
retreat  amidst 
trees  and  flow- 
ing water. 

He  was  known 
to  be  so  up- 
right, that 
judges  accepted 
his  word  with- 
out oath. 

6182.  2nd  ofTI  om.  R.       6184.  that]  om.  H. 

6185.  is]  om.  R. 

6190.  disturbaunce]  p<rrturbaunce  H.       6194.    aj  om.  R. 

6199.  so  attempred  was  he  H. 

6200.  Pat  Resoun  H  —  manstried  R. 

6206.   hated]  hate  hym  R. 
6213.   so]  ful  R. 

6205.   Amonge  R. 

6209.   to  scole  first  R. 


Zenocrates  and  Diogenes 

[bk.  I 

When  king 
visited  him, 

Asked  why  he   He  axcd  was  among  gret  audience, 
he  answered'     Whi  he  was  solcyn  ofF  his  daliaunce: 

that  silence  xy  <  -  ., 

had  never  done  flis  answere  was,  that  neuer  tor  silence 
him  harm.        ThoFuh  Htil  spekyng  he  felte  no  greuauwce,  6220 

Spech  onavised  causeth  repentaunce; 
And  rakil  tuwges,  for  lak  off  refreynyng, 
To  many  a  man  hath  be  ful  gret  hyndryng. 

Diogenes  also    Diogenes,  trewe  heir  and  next  allied  6224 

was  a  true  T"  Mr    i  i        •  i        • 

heir  of  Poverty.  1  o  wiliul  pouert  be  lust  enhentaunce,  — 
littie'tun  whkh  For  al  richesse  he  pleynli  hath  diffied, 
alafnsTthe^^""^!^  was  to  hym  so  gret[e]  encuwbraunce 
sun's  rays.        With  worldH  ttcsour  to  haue*  alliaunce.  6228 

His  duellyng  made  withynne  a  Htil  tunwe, 
Which  turned  a-boute  with  concours  off  the  sunne, 

HymselfF  refresshyng  with  hete  off  Phebus 

bemys;  ^  [p-??] 

For  he  was  content,  God  wot,  with  ful  lite.  6232 

Kyng  Alisauwdre,  that  conquered  rewmys, 
Cam  ridyng  doun,  &  gan  hymselfF  delite 
This  philisophre  to  seen  and  visite, 
HymselfF  sequestred  sool  from  al  the  pres,  6236 

And  cam  alone  to  seen  Diogenes. 

ProfFred  to*  hym  gret  richesse  &  tresour, 

Bad  hym  aske  what  thyng  that  he  wolde, 

That  myhte  hym  plese  or  doon  to  hym  socour;    6240 

But  ofF  al  that,  he  nothyng  ne  tolde. 

But  praied  hym  ful  lowli,  that  he  sholde 

Nat  drawe  from  hym  ^at  thyng,  ageyn  al  riht, 

Which  for  to  yiue  lay  nat  in  his  myht.  6244 

"  What  thyng  is  that  ?"  quod  Alisaundre  ageyn, 
"  I  ha[ue]  be  conquest  al  ertheli  tresour  wonne." 
The  philisophre  seide  he  spak  in  veyn, 
"Thou  hast,"  quod  he,  "no  lordshep  ofF  the  sonwe.  6248 
Thi  shadwe  lettith  his  bemys  fro  my  tonne; 

and  offered 
him  great 
treasure,  he 
said,  "pray 
don't  take 
from  me  that 
which  you 
cannot  give. 

"You  have  no 
lordship  over 
the  sun,  and 
your  shadow 
keeps  his  rays 
from  me." 

6224.  next3  om.  R. 

6227.  To  him  it  was  J,  P,  H  5  —  an  encombraunce  R. 

6228.  hauel  hauen  B. 

6231.  hetej  the  heete  H  —  hete  off  Phebus  bemys3  wtti>  the 

sunne  beemys  R. 

6235.  to  visite  R.      6236.  sequestred]  requestrid  R. 

6238.  to]  vnto  B,  R,  J,  P,  H  5.      6241.  ne]  no  R. 

6242.  sholde]  wolde  H. 

6248.  off]  on  R.       6249.   lettist  R. 

BK.  l] 

Diogenes  and  Alexander 


And  sithe  thou  hast  no  power  off  his  Hht, 
I  pray  the  freendli,  forbarre  me  nat  his  siht." 

Thouh  Alisaundre  was  myhti  off  puissaunce,         6252 

And  al  the  world[e]  hadde  in  his  demeyne, 

Yit  was  his  resoun  vnder  thobeisaunce 

OiFflesshli  lustis  fetrid  in  a  cheyne; 

For  in  his  persone  will  was  souereyne,  6256 

His  resoun  bridled  be  sensualite, 

Troublyng  the  fredam  ofF  riht  &  equite. 

For  where  that  will  hath  dominacioun 

In  a  prynce,  which  sholde  sustene  riht,  6260 

And  parcial  fauour  oppressith  his  resoun, 

And  trouthes  title  is  bor  doun  with  myht. 

And  egall  doom  hath  lost  his  cleer[e]  lyht: 

Thouh  for  a  sesoun  thei  sitte  in  hih[e]  chaieres,    6264 

Ther  fame  shal  fade  withynne  a  fewe  yeres. 

In  this  mater  mak  a  comparisoun 

Twen  Alisaundre  and  Diogenes: 

The  ton  endured  but  a  short  sesoun,  6268 

For  that  he  loued  werre  more  than  pes; 

And  for  the  tother  was  nat  rech[e]les, 

But  heeld  hym  content  with  gifFtis  off  Nature, 

Onto  gret  age  his  pouert  dede  endure.  6272 

Alisaundre  was  slay[e]n  with  poisoun. 

In  his  triumphes  whan  he  dede  excell; 

But  in  a  tonne  that  lay  ful  lowe  doun 

Diogenes  drank  watir  off  the  well.  6276 

And  off  ther  eende  the  difference  to  tell, 

Alisaundre  with  couetise  was  blent; 

The  philisophre  with  litil  was  content. 

Blessid  be  pouert,  that  may  endure  longe,  6280 

Maugre  the  fraude  &  daunger  off  Fortune, 

Where-as  kynges  &  emperour[e]s  stronge 

In  ther  estat  no  while  may  contune. 

And  off  all  vertues  rekned  in  comune,  6284 

Tween  indigence  and  gret  habundaunce. 

Is  a  good  mene  content  with  suffisaunce. 

Alexander  was 
mighty,  his 
reason  was 
fettered  by 

and  where  will 
has  domina- 
tion over  truth, 
fame  shall 

lasted  but  a 
short  teasoQ 

and  died  by 

Diogenes  lived 
to  old  age  in 
his  tun. 

Blessed  be 
poverty,  a 
mean    between 
indigence  and 
great  wealth. 

6250.  his]  the  R. 

6251.  his]  my  R.       6258.   Troublede  R. 
6264.  charis  R. 

6267.  Bitwene  R.      6272.   a  gret  R. 

6285.  Bitwene  R  —  gret]  om.  R. 


There  is  no  Assurance  in  Riches 

[bk.  I 

There  is  no      For  with  grct  plente  men  be  nat  assurid, 

riches;  lords  do  AfFtiF  thcF  lust  alway  to  lyue  in  ese;  6288 

not  have  every-   a       i      i         i       i  i  •  i 

thing  to  please  And  thouh  that  men  gret  tresour  nan  recurid, 
t  em-  With  ther  richesse  thei  feele  many  disese: 

Lordis  ha[ue]  nat  all  thynge  that  may  hem  plese; 
But  hertili  ioie,  philisophres  expresse,  6292 

Is  grettest  tresour  tween  pouert  &  richesse. 

Diogenes  lived   For  this  chapitle  sheweth  a  figure, 

longer  than  .  i-i  i     i  • 

Priam,  A  maner  liknesse  and  demonstraciouw, 

How  Diogenes  lengere  dede  endure 
Than  myhti  Priam  or  kyng  Lamedoun: 
Texemplefie,  in  conclusiou^i, 
Ther  is  mor  trust  in  vertuous  symplesse, 
Than  in  presumyng  olF  vicious  fals  richesse. 

and  Paris'  and  For  thauouttic  ofF  Paris  and  Heleyne 

Helen  8  mis- 
brought  all 
Troy  to 

Brouhte  al  Troye  to  destruccioun; 

Pride  &  luxure  were  also  menys  tweyne 

Whi  Grekis  leide  a  siege  to  the  touw, 

And  fynal  cause  off  ther  confusioun, 

To  outher  parti  losse  off  many  a  man, 

The  ground  conceyued  whi  first  the  werre  gan. 




Priam  fell 
from  riches  to 
poverty,  from 
kingly  honour 
to  wretched- 

Hector  was 

^  Lenvoye. 

THIS  tragedie  pitous  &  lamentable 
And  dolerous  to  writen  &  expresse, 
That  worthi  Priaw,  of  kynges  most  notable, 
Was  falle  in  pouert  from*  his  gret  richesse, 
Fro  kyngli  honour  into  wrechidnesse. 
Fro  sceptre  &  crowne,  &  from  his  regalie 
To  myschiefF  brouht  thoruh  fals  auoutrie. 

Was  nat  Fortune  froward  and  deceyuable 

For  to  sufFre  bi  her  doubilnesse. 

And  bi  hir  cours,  which  euer  is  variable, 

That  worthi  Ector,  flour  off  hih  prowesse, 

Sholde  onwarli,  most  famous  off  noblesse. 

Be  slayn  alias,  cheeff  stok  off  cheualrie,  6320 

For  a  quarell  off  fals  auoutrie  ? 

6288.  ther  lust]  lust  of  hem  R. 

6292.  doth  expresse  R.       6293.   bi  twene  R. 

6301.  thauoutrie]  the  Auarice  R.       6304.   to]  to  fore  R. 

6306.  a]  om.  R.       6307.   began  R.       6309.   &]  or  R. 

63 1 1,  from]  for  B,  for  al  H,  J,  H  5. 

6312.  kyngli]  knyhtly  R.      6316.  sufFre]  suffre  hir  R. 



[p.  78] 

BK.  l] 

The  Story  of  Samson 


Agamenoun  coumptid  incomparable 

Among  Grekis  for  trouthe  &  rihtwisnesse. 

To  goueme  most  glorious  and  hable,  —  6324 

Withynwe  his  paleis,  the  story  berth  witnesse, 

His  wifF  Clymestra  thoruh  hir  cursidnesse 

Assentid  was  to  moordre  hym  off  en  vie, 

For  thoccasioun  off  fals  auoutrie.  6328 

Ye  noble  pryncis,  conceyueth  how  chaungable 

Is  worldli  honour  thoruh  onstedfastnesse! 

Seeth  off  kyng  Pryam  the  glori  was  onstable; 

Fix  in  your  mynde  this  mateer  doth  inpresse,       6332 

And  your  corages  knyhtH  doth  vp  dresse, 

Ageyn  all  titles  holdeth  chaumpartie 

Which  appertene  to  fals  auoutrie. 

murdered,  and 
all  through 

Princes,  resist 
all  things  that 
appertain  to 

[Off  mighty  Sampson  whiche  tolde  his  counsaile 
to  Dalida  wherby  he  was  deceived^  ^ 


HO  was  mor  myhti  or  strong  than  Samp- 


Non  mor  delyuer,  ^t  Bible  berth  witnesse: 

Withoute  wepne  he  slouh  a  fers  leoun. 

And  for  his  enmyes  to  hym  dede  expresse 

His  vnkouth  problem,  anon  he  gan  hym  dresse 

Geyn  Philistes,  and  slouh  off  hem  thretti. 

To  paie  his  promys  spoiled  hem  bi  and  bi. 

His  problem  was,  the  text  thus  rehersyng, 

Afftir  the  lettir  in  veray  sothfastnesse: 

"  Ther  cam  out  mete  off  a  thyng  etyng, 

And  fro  the  stronge  ther  wente  out  suetnesse." 

But  his  wiff,  off  froward  doubilnesse, 

Which  euer  wrouhte  to  his  disauail, 

Off  worthi  Sampson  tolde  the  counsail: 

"  W^hat  is  mor  strong  than  is  a  leoun, 

Or  mor  soote  than  hony  in  tastyng?"  — 

But  women  haue*  this  condicioun, 

Off  secre  thynges  whan  thei  haue  knowlechj-ng, 

Thei  bollyn  inward,  ther  hertis  ay  fretyng: 

Outher  thei  musten  deien  or  discure. 

So  brotil  is  off  custum  ther  nature. 







6322.   counted  R.        6337.   Non]  Nor  H  —  Bible]  ston-  H. 
6341.   Ayens  R.       6352.   haue]  han  B,  R. 
6354.    boyllyng  inwardis  R. 

^MS.  J.  leaf  33  recto. 

Samson  un- 
armed slew  a 
lion  and  mads 
a  riddle  on  his 

"Out  of  the 
eater  came 
meat,  sweet- 
ness out  of  the 

But  his  wife 
disclosed  the 
(women  must 
die  if  they 
cannot  tell 

It  was,  that 
bees  made 
honey  in  the 
head  of  the 
dead  lion. 

Samson's  wife 
wheedled  it  out 
of  him, 

and  then  told 
the  Philistines. 
A  plague  on 
weeping  wives 
who  cannot 
hold  their 

1 80  Samson  and  his  Riddle  [bk.  i 

This  was  the  cas:  the  leouw  that  was  ded, 

Ageyn  the  sonne  gapyng  lay  vpriht; 

A  swarm  off  been  entred  in  his  hed, 

Off  whom  ther  cam  hony  anon  riht.  6360 

And  whan  Sampson  therofF  hadde  a  siht, 

He  fantasied  in  his  opynyouw 

Ful  secreH  this  proposiciouw, 

As  ye  han  herd,  and  gan  it  foorth  purpose,  6364 

That  PhiHstes  to  hym  it  sholde  expowne, 

Vnder  a  peyne  the  trouthe  to  hym  onclose. 

But  with  his  wifFthei  preueH  gan  rowne; 

And  she  on  Sampson  gan  compleyne  &  frowne,    6368 

And  feynyngli  so  longe  vpon  hym  weepe, 

That  he  nat  coude  his  couwsail  from  hir  keepe. 

Which  whan  she  kneuh,  she  made  no  tarieng. 

But  pleyn  and  hool  she  gan  it  to  declare.  6372 

Such  double  trust  is  in  ther  wepyng; 

To  keepe  ther  tunges  womwen  ca«  nat  spare. 

Such  wepyng  wyues,  euel  mut  thei  fare! 

And  all  husbondis,  I  pray  God  yiue  hem  sorwe,   6376 

That  to  hem  tell  ther  couwseil  eue  or  morwe. 

yo^J."  said'°''^   She  told  hem  hool,  she  tolde  it  hem  nat  halff; 
^u'"'°i"c  ^'"     And  Sampson  thanne  gan  vpon  hem  smyle, 

though  Samson    ,,,,.„  *^         i       ii      i         i   •      •  irr 

was  very  Yiit  ye  nat  hadde  herd  it  m  my  calit,  6380 

rather' afraid  of  Ye  sholdc  nat  a  fouwde  it  a  gret  while." 

\YhQ  jyjay  be  seur,  wher  women  list  begile!  — 
Thouh  bookis  Sampson  off  strengthe  so  comende, 
Yit  durste  he  nat  ageyn  his  wifF  offende.  6384 

This  myhti  Sampson  dede  also  his  peyne, 

Thre  hundred  foxis  onys  that  he  fond. 

He  took  her  tailes,  knet  hem  tweyne  &  tweyne, 

And  amyd  euerich  he  sette  a  feer-brond;  6388 

And  as  thei  ran  in  Philistes  lond, 

So  furiousli  vp  and  doun  thei  wente, 

That  thei  her  frutis  &  ther  vynes  brente. 

He  killed  a       Eek  be  tresoun  whan  he  was  onys  bouwde  6392 

thousand  men      __..    ,  t  i       i  i     i 

with  the  jaw-    With  newe  cordis  as  he  lay  and  sleep, 

bone  of  an  ass,  nni  ii  ii'iio  rj 

1  her  caw  thr^  thousand,  which  that  Sampson  tounde, 

He  tied  the 
tails  of  foxes 
to  firebrands, 
and  set  them 
running  in  the 

6363.   secreli]  sikirly  R.       6368.   on]  in  R. 
6377.   eue]  euen  R,  even  H  —  or]  &  H. 
6380.   ye]  she  R  —  it]  om.  R,  H,  P. 
6389.  ran]  ronne  H.      6391.  frute  H.      6392. 

Eek]  Also  R. 



Samson  and  Delilah 



[p-  79] 



Tamoordred  hym,  or  that  he  took  keep: 

He  brak  his  bondis,  and  vp  anon  he  leep, 

Off  an  asse  [he]  cauhte  a  chaule-bon, 

And  a  thousand  he  slouh  off  hem  anon. 

He  gan  to  feynte  &  hadde  a  sodeyn  lust 

For  to  drynke,  fadid  face  and  cheer; 

And  God  sente  hym  to  staunche  with  his  thrust 

From  thassis  toth  watir  cristal  cleer, 

Which  that  sprang  out  large  as  a  ryuer, 

Refresshid  his  sperit,  which  afforn  gan  dull, 

Til  that  he  hadde  off  watir  drunke  his  full. 

Afftir  he  wente  to  Gazam  the  cite, 

Mong  all  his  enmyes,  that  were  off  gret  myht, 

To  his  plesauwce  where  he  dede  see 

A  ful  fair  woman,  lay  with  hire  al  nyht, 

And  on  the  morvi^e,  longe  or  it  was  lyht, 

Maugre  the  wach,  vpon  his  shuldres  squar 

The  gatis  stronge  vp  to  an  hill  he  bar.  6412 

And  in  a  vale*  which  callid  was  Soret 

Ful  hoote  he  loued  Dalida  the  faire, 

On  whom  his  herte  was  ful  sore  set, 

She  koude  hir  feyne  so  meek  &  debonaire,  6416 

Make  hym  such  cheer  whan  that  hym  list  repaire. 

But  I  dar  calle  hir  Dalida  the  double, 

Cheeff  roote  &  cause  off  al  his  mortal  trouble. 

He  neuer  drank  wynes  whiht  nor  red,  6420 

Off  Nazarees  such  is  the  goueraunce; 

Rasour  nor  sheer  touchid  neuer  his  hed. 

For  in  long  growyng  stondeth  ther  plesaunce. 

And  this  Sampson,  most  myhti  off  substauTice,     6424 

Hadde  al  his  force  be  influence  off  heuene, 

B[y]  heris  wexyng,  that  were  in  nouwbre  seuene. 

It  was  ful  secre  in  euery  manys  siht, 

Among  peeple  told  for  an  vnkouth  thyng,  6428 

Wheroff  Sampson  hadde  so  gret  myht. 

Outward  shewed  bi  force  off  his  werkyng. 

But  Dalida  with  hir  flateryng 

6395.  ToamoordreR.      6399.   began  R.      6403.   that]  om.  R. 

6405.  Gazon  R.       6407.   Amonge  R.       6408.   that  he  R. 

6409.  ful]  OOT.  H.      6410.   or]  er  H.      6411.   wach]  wachis  R. 

6412.  vp  to]  vpon  H.  6413.   vale]vaIeiB  —  was]isR. 

6415.  On]  In  R.  6421.  such]  which  R. 

6424.  substaunce]  puyssaunce  H.       6427.   ful]  om.  R. 

6430.  werkyng]  wrytyng  R. 

from  which  he 
drank  dear 

And  he  went 
to  Gaza,  where 
he  visited  a 
harlot  and 
carried  oflf   the 
town  gates. 

Ddikh  lived  ] 
the  vale  of 

Samson  never 
drank  wine  or 
cut  his  hair. 

But  Delilah 
found  out  the 
secret  of  his 


Samson  and  Delilah 

[bk.  I 

Although  fair 
of  face,  she 
was  like  a 
snake  hiding 
under  flowers. 

He  was  honest 
and  faithful; 
she  was  other- 
wise, and  wore 
many  colours, 

and  shaved  off 
his  hair. 

Nothing  is 
worse  than  a 
secret  enemy, 
especially  if  it 
be  one's  own 

The  Philistines 
put  out  Sam- 
son's eyes  and 
compelled  him 
to  grind  their 

Wolde  neuer  stynte,  enqueryng  euer  among,         6432 
Til  that  she  kneuh  wherbi  he  was  so  strong. 

She  lich  a  serpent  daryng  vnder  flour-fs, 

Or  Ilk  a  werm  that  wrotith  on  a  tre, 

Or  Hch  an  addere  off  manyfold  colourifs,  6436 

Riht  fressh  apperyng  and  fair  vpon  to  see: 

For  shrowdid  was  hir  mutabilite 

With  lowHheed[e]  and  a  fair  pretense 

OfF  trewe  menyng  vnder  fals  apparence.  6440 

He  mente  trouthe,  &  she  was  variable, 

He  was  feithful,  and  she  was  ontrewe, 

He  was  stedfast,  and  she  was  onstable, 

His  trust  ay  oon;  she  loued  thynges  newe:  6444 

She  wered  colour^s  off  many  dyuers  hewe, 

In  stede  off  bleu,  which  stedfast  is  and  cleene; 

She  loued  chaunges  off  many  dyuers  greene. 

But  to  the  purpos  for  to  condescende,  6448 

Whan  she  off  Sampson  kneuh  al  the  preuite, 

Hir  falsheed  shortli  for  to  comprehende. 

She  made  hym  slepe  ful  sofftli  on  hir  kne; 

And  a  sharp  rasour  afftir  that  took  she,  6452 

Shoof  off  his  her,  large  and  off  gret  lengthe, 

Wherbi,  alias,  he  loste  al  his  strengthe. 

Damage  is  erthe  is  non  so  greuous, 

As  an  enmy  which  that  is  secre,  6456 

Nor  pestilence  non  so  pereilous 

As  falsnesse  where  he  is  preue. 

And  speciali  in  femynyte; 

For  yiff  wyues  be  fouwden  variable,  6460 

Wher  shal  husbondis  fynden  other  stable  ? 

Thus  Sampson  was  be  Dalida  deceyued. 

She  coude  so  weel  flatre,  forge  and  feyne,  — 

Which  Philistes,  whan  thei  ha[ue]  conceyued,        6464 

Onwarli  bond  hym  in  a  myhti  cheyne, 

Cast  hym  in  prisoun,  put  out  his  eyen  tweyne. 

And  off  despiht,  afftir,  as  I  fynde. 

At  ther  queernys  maad  hym  for  to  grynde.  6468 

6436.  eddre  R. 

6438.  shrowdid]  froward  R. 

6454.  his]  his  gret  R.       6457.   Nor]  Ne  R.      6458.   he]  it   R. 

6464.  whan]  whan  t)at  H. 

6467.  off  despiht  afftir]  aftir  of  despite  wryten  R. 

6468.  ther]  the  R  —  maad]  thei  made  R. 

BK.  l] 

Samson's  Death.     The  Envoy 


Thei  made  a  feste  statli  and  solempne, 

Whan  the!  hadde  al  this  tresoun  wrouht; 

And  to  rebuke  hym,  scome  hym  &  condempne, 

Blynde  Sampson  was  afom  hem  brouht:  6472 

Which  thyng  ful  sore  greued  hym  in  his  thouht, 

Caste  he  wolde  in  his  preue  mynde 

Tauenge  his  blyndnesse  sum  maner  weie  fynde. 

And  whan  he  hadde  thus  bethouht  hym  longe,     6476 

He  made  a  child  hym  preueH  to  leede 

To  tweyne  postis,  large,  squar  and  stronge, 

Enbraced  hem,  or  any  man  took  heede, 

And  gan  to  shake  hem,  withoute  feer  or  dreede,  6480 

So  sturdili  among  his  fomen  all. 

That  the  temple  is  vpon  hem  fall. 

Thus  he  was  auengid  on  his  foon,  [p,  80] 

WTiich  that  falsli  dede  ageyn  hym  stryue,  6484 

Slouh  in  his  deieng,  God  wot,  many  on 

Mo  than  he  dede  euer  afForn  his  lyue. 

And  he  was  also,  the  date  to  descryue, 

In  Israel,  the  Bible  is  myn  auctour,  6488 

Twenti  yeer  ther  iuge  and  gouernour. 


THIS  tragedie  yeueth  in  euidence 
To  whom  men  shal  ther  counseil  out  discure; 
For  rakell  tunges,  for  lak  off  prouidence,  6492 

Ha[ue]  do  gret  harm  to  many  a  creature: 
Whan  harm  is  doon,  ful  hard  is  to  recure. 
Beth  war  be  Sampson,  your  counsail  weel  to  keepe, 
Thouh  Dalida  compleyne,  crie  and  weepe.  6496 

Whilom  Sampson,  for  manhod  &  prudence, 
Hadde  Israel  in  gouemaunce  and  cure. 
Daunted  leouns  thoruh  his  magnyficence. 
Made  on  a  thousand  a  disconfiture;  6500 

But  his  moste  pereilous  auenture. 
Was  whan  he  lay  with  Dalida  to  slepe, 
Which  falsli  coude  compleyne,  crie  and  weepe. 
Ye  noble  Pryncis,  conceyueth  the  sentence  6504 

Off  this  story,  remembrid  in  scripture, 
How  that  Sampson  off  wilful  necligence 

6476.   Whan]  om.  H.       6477.  to]  om.  R.       6480.   bi  gan  R. 
6485.   ful  many  R.       64S6.   euer  he  did  R. 
6490.   in]  an  R.       6497.  Whilom]  Sumtyme  R, 

they  made 
mock  of 
him  at  a 
festival  in 
their  temple, 

but  he  upset 
the  pillars  anJ 
brought  the 
temple  down 
on  their  heads. 

Thus  dying  he 
dew  more  men 
than  he  ever 
did  before  in 
his  life. 

This  tragedy 
shews  that  men 
ought  not  to 
teli  their 

Beware  of 


Princes,  keep 
your  secrets; 
let  Delilah 
complain  and 
weep  if  she 

184  Bochas  and  the  Malice  of  Women  [bk.  i 

Was  shaue  &  shorn,  difFacId  his  figure; 
Keep  your  conceitis  vnder  couerture,  6508 

SufFre  no  nyhtwerm  withynne  your  couwsail  kreepe, 
Thouh  DaHda  compleyne,  crie  and  weepe! 

A  chapitle  of  Bochas  discrjmyng  l)e  malis  of  wom- 

My  author        T\  /f  YN  auctowf  Bochflj"  reioishcd  in  his  lyue, 

Bochas  was  '  * '  ■  "^        ' 


pleased  to  de-    JL tX    (I  dar  nat  seyn,  wher  it  was  comewdable)  6512 
maiile V         Off  these  women  the  malice  to  descryue 
donTkiTow  ^     Generali,  and  writ  —  it  is  no  fable  — 
rommendlbr'  Off  ther  natute  how  thei  be  variable, 
ofhimornot.    And  how  thct  malice  best  bc  cuidence  6516 

Is  knowe  to  hem  that  haue  experience. 

He  said  that     Thei  Can  afForce  hem,  alday  men  may  see, 

try  to  keep       Be  synguler  fredam  and  dominacioun 

don  and'"erk"  Ouer  men  to  ha[ue]n  souereynte,  6520 

IrtThafnaLre  And  kcepc  hem  lowe  vnder  subiecciouw. 

thenf''"'*"^        Ful*  sore  laboure  in  ther  opynyouw, 

Bi  sotil  crafFt  that  thyng  to  recure, 

Which  is  to  hem  denyed  off  Nature.  6524 

They  massage    Bochas  afFcrmeth,  &  halt  it  for  no  tale, 
wrinkled  faces    YifF  thci  wante  frcsshncssc  off  colour, 
And  han  ther  face  iawne,  swart  &  pale. 
Anon  thei  doon  ther  dilligent  labour  6528 

In  such  a  neede  to  helpe  and  do  socour, 
Ther  reuelid  skyn  abrod  to  drawe  &  streyne, 
Froward  frounces  to  make  hem  smothe  &  pleyne. 
and  apply  oint-  Yiff  no  tcdnesse  in  ther  chekis  be,  6532 

ments  to  make    -_  ,,.  ,,  ,,  ii- 

their  cheeks  look  JN  or  no  Iclics  deiectabie  and  white, 

there^il  nodose. Than  thei  take,  tencrece  ther  beute. 
Such  oynementis  as  may  most  delite; 
Wher  Kynde  faileth  the  surplusage  tacquite,         6536 
Thei  can  be  crafFt  so  for  hemsilfF  dispose, 
Shewe  rednesse  thouh  ther  be  no  rose. 

They  use  hot    And  for  to  shcwc  ther  face  cleer  and  briht, 

spices  and  roots....    ,     .  .  . 

to  clear  their     With  hootc  spices  and  oyuementis  soote  6540 

complexions,  and>T^i      •  i  rr^  ^'    c  ^  "l  ^ 

if  their  bosoms    1  hei  Can  be  craitt  cou7mrtete  a-nht, 

are  too  flat  or 
too  full, 

6510.  Thouh  that  R.  6516.   best]  kest  R. 

6522.  Ful]AndB,J,  Hs.      6527.   face]  faces  R,  H,  P,  R  3. 

6529.   do]  to  R.      6533.  delytable  R. 

•  vommen  B  —  Same  heading  in  J,  leaf  34  b. 

BK.  l] 

Bocbas  on  the  Malice  of  Women 


Take  in  such  cas  many  an  holsum  roote: 
Wher  Kynde  faileth,  cunnyng  can  do  boote,  — 
YifF  ther  brestis  vp  to  hie  hem  dresse,  6544 

Thei  can  ful  weel  thenbosyng  doun  represse. 

And  yifF  thei  been  to  sofFte  or  to  tendre, 

Thei  ha[ue]  cunnyng  to  make  hem  hard  &  rouwde. 

Ther  corsifnesse  thei  can  eek  make  sclendre  6548 

With  poynant  sausis  that  been  in  phesik  founde; 

Ther  sotil  wittis  in  sleihtis  so  habounde, 

Thyng  that  is  courbid  or  wrong  in  mennys  siht 

To  make  it  seeme  as  it  wente  vpriht.  6552 

Thei  han  strictories  to  make  ther  skyn  to  shyne, 

Wrouht  subtili  off  gommes  &  off  glaire; 

Craffti  lies  to  die  ther  her  citryne, 

Distillid  watres,  to  make  hem  seeme  faire,  6556 

Fumygaciouns  to  rectefie  the  aiere, 

Stomachers  and  fressh  confecciouns 

To  represse  fals  exallaciouws. 

Off  alle  these  thynges  Bochas  hath  most 

despiht,  [p.  81]     6560 

Whan  these  vekkes,  ferre  Ironne  in  age, 
Withynne  hemsilff  han  veynglori  and  dehht 
For  to  farce  and  poppe  ther  visage, 
Lich  a[s]  peyntour[s]  on  an  old  ymage  6564 

Leyn  ther*  colours,  riche  and  fressh  off  hewe, 
Wermfrete  stokkes  to  make  hem  seeme  newe. 

Ther  slak[ke]  skyn  be  craft  abrod  is  streynyd, 
Lik  an  orenge  fro  the  galei  brouht;  6568 

Riche  relikes  aboute  ther  neckkis*  cheynyd, 
Gold  vpon  gold,  with  perle  &  stonys  wrouht. 
And  that  ther  colour  outward  appeire  nouht 
With  wynd  or  sonne,  which  sholde  hew  steyne  or 

fade,  6572 

For  onkjmde  heetis  thei  vse  citrynade. 

6543.   can]  may  R.  6546.   And]  am.  R  —  been]  om.  R. 

6548.  corsiousnesse  R  —  eek]  also  R. 

6549.  punyaunt  sawis  R. 

6550,51  are  transposed  in  R.       6553.    2nd  to]  om.  R. 
6555.   die]dihtR.      6556.   watir  R. 

6564.  as  peyntours]  a  peyntour  R,  J,  H  5. 

6565.  Leyn  ther]  Leith  his  B,  R,  J,  H  5,  They  lein   P,  Thei 
lay  R3. 

6569.  nekkis]  necke  is  B,  nekke  is  J,  H5,  necke  is  P. 

6570.  perlys  R.  6571.   appeire]  appereth  R. 

they  fashion 
them  to  their 
liking.    They 
reduce  their 
flesh  by 
strong  drugs, 
and  whatever 
is  crooked 
they  cause  to 

They  use  glair 
to  make  their 
skin  shine, 
alkalies  to 
bleach  their 
hair,  fumiga- 
tions for  dis- 

Bochas  is  most 
scornful  when 
these  old  vecks 
paint  and  pop 
their  faces,  like 
craftsmen  lay- 
ing colours  on 
worm  eaten 

They  stretch 
their  loose  skin 
till  itresemblei 
an  orange, 
hang  their 
necks  with 
gold  and  gems, 
use  citrinade 
when  their 
faces  are 

1 86  Bochas  on  the  Malice  of  Women  [bk.  i 

t"tting  new^""'  What  sholdc  I  wHtc  al  ther  vnkouth  desires, 
devices  to         Sumtvme  frovvard,  suwtyme  debonaire; 

make  them-  -'  -  . 

selves  look  like  Ymagynyng  sundry  iressh  attires,  6576 

Contreued  ofF  newe  many  thousand  paire; 
Dyuers  deuyses  to  make  hem  seeme  faire 
In  ther  apport,  be  couwtirfet  liknesse 
For  to  rassemble  Venus  the  goddesse.  6580 

hlV^a^new      OfF  On  deuys  thei  holde  hem  nat  appaied, 
gown  every  day,  Xhei  mut  cch  day  han  a  strauwge  weede; 

and  their  hearts        ,  -'  .      • 

bleed  if  one  is  Yiff  any  bc  than  othir  bet*  arraied, 

than  another.    Off  froward  gruchchywg  thei  feele  ther  herte 

Each  considers  i  i        j  ,   „ 

herself  fairest  blcedc:  6584 

her'mir?oi-"  '"  For  cuerich  thynkith  veraiH  in  deede, 

Amorwe  prieng  withynwe  a  merour  briht, 
For  to  be  fairest  in  hir  owen  siht. 

make  eyes"at     Thei  cau  ther  cyeu  and  ther  lookis  dresse  6588 

men  or  pretend  f  o  drawc  folk  be  slcihtis  to  ther  lure; 
always  get        And  sumwhile  bi  ther  frowardnesse 

what  they  want.     .       i    r  11  1      •  m 

And  reyned  dauTzger,  thei  can  orr  men  recure 
What-euer  thei  Hst,  such  is  ther  auenture.  6592 

Ageyn  whos  sleihtis  force  nor  prudence 
May  nat  auaile  to  make  resistence. 

Jnd'feigne?m-  With  constrcynt  wepyng  &  forgid  flaterie, 

ness  bring  many  gubtil  spech[e]  farcid  with  plesaunce,  6596 

snare.  And  many  fals  dissemeHd  maladie  — 

Thouh  in  ther  hertis  thei  feele  no  greuauwce  — 
And  with  ther  couert  sobre  daliaunce, 
Thouh  vndirnethe  the  double  serpent  dare,  6600 

Ful  many  a  man  thei  ha[ue]  brouht  in  ther  snare. 

Kn  oTmSr-'  O  suet[e]nesse  ful  off  mortalitel 
taiity,  their       Serpcntync  with  a  plesaunt  visage  I 

privilege  islto      ^     ^     ,  /    .     •      r    ,       rr       1  • 

daunt  and  op-    Unstable  loie  tui  ott  aduersite;  6604 

Key  cloose^"  O  most  chauwgable  off  herte  &  off  corage! 
In  thi  desirs  hauyng  this  auauntage, 
What-euer  thou  list  to  dauwten  and  oppresse,  — 
Such  is  thi  fraunchise,  Bochas  berth  witnesse.      6608 

6577.  many  a  R.      6580.  to  Venus  R. 

6583.  bet  than  othir  B,  R,  J. 

6589.  folkis  R. 

6590.  sumtyme  R.      6593.   nor^  ne  R. 
6594.  to]  forto  R.      6597.   many  a  R. 

BK.  l] 

Bochas  on  the  Malice  of  Women 


Off  nature  thel  can  in  many  wise 

Off  myhti  geauntis  the  power  weel  aslake: 

What  wit  off  man  can  compass*  or  deuise, 

Ther  sleihti  wilis  dar  it  vndertake,  6612 

And,  yiff  hem  list,  theroff  an  eende  make. 

Fro  this  conceit,  who-so  that  discorde, 

A  thousand  stories  the  reuers  can  recorde.* 

Remembre  first,  how  Hercules  most  strong  6616 

Was  brouht  be  women  to  his  destruccioun; 

The  queen  Clymestra  dede  also  gret  wrong 

To  moordre  hir  lord  kyng  Agamenoun. 

Dalida  betraished  also  Sampsoun;  6620 

Amphiorax  sane  doun  deepe  into  hell. 

Because  his  wiff  his  couwsail  dede  out  tell. 

It  nedith  nat  to  make  mencioun, 

Thouh  Phillis  deide  thoruh  inpacience  6624 

Off  longe  abidjmg  off  hir  Demephoun, 

Nor  how  that  Nisus,  kyng  off  Magarence, 

Was  bi  his  douhtres  cursid  violence 

Onwarli  moordred,  in  Ouide  it  is  told,  6628 

Whan  from  his  hed  she  stal  the  her  off  gold. 

Bochas  rehersith  off  wyues  many  on. 

Which  in  ther  werkyng  wer  ful  contrarious; 

But  among  all,  he  writith  ther  was  on. 

Queen  off  Assirie  and  wiff  to  kyng  Nynus, 

And  be  discent  doubter  to  Neptunus, 

Semiramis  callid  in  hir  daies. 

Which  off  all  men  wolde  make  assaies.  6636 

She  nouther  spared  straunger  nor  kynreede; 

Hir  owne  sone  was  nat  set  a-side. 

But  with  hym  hadde  knowlechyng  in  deede. 

Off  which  the  sclaundre  wente  abrod  ful  wide.      6640 

For  with  on  man  she  koude  nat  a-bide. 

Such  a  fals  lust  was  vpon  hir  fall. 

In  hir  corage  to  haue  a-do  with  all. 

To  all  that 
the  wit  of  man 
can  devise  they 
are  ready  to 
apply  their 

how  Hercules, 
Samson,  and 
many  more 
men  were 
brought  to 
by  women. 

Nor  is  the 
scale  turned 
by  Phyllis'* 
think  of 
Scylla,  who 
her  father. 


6632     wife. 

who  had  to  do 
with  all  men, 
even  with  her 
own  100. 

6610.  the]  ther  R.       661 1.   compassen  B. 

6613.  an  ende  ther  of  make  R.      6615.   recorded  accorde  B,  J. 

66i6.  first]  om.  R.       6618.   Chymestra  R. 

6621.  deepe]  om  H — depe  doun  to  R.     6624.    Impacience  H. 

6625,  Off]  For  R.        6626.   Nor]  Nethir  R  — Margarence  R. 

6630.  rehersith]  writith  H.        6636.   make]  take  R. 

6637.  nor]  no  R.        6641.   koude]  myht  H. 

4642.  vpon]  on  R. 


Lydgate  reproves  Bochas 

But  it  wearies  And  treufelll  it  doth  my  witt  appall 

me  to  rehearse    y-^f^.    ,  .  i  i  -i 

the«e  things.      (JiT  this  matcer  to  make  rehersaile; 

[bk.  I 
[p.  82]       6644 

It  is  not  right 
to  condemn  all 
women  because 
one  or  two 
were  at  fault. 

It  is  no  resoun  tatwiten  women  all, 

Thouh  on  or  too  whilom  dede  faile. 

It  sittith  nat,  nor  it  may  nat  auaile,  6648 

Hem  to  rebuke  that  parfit  been  &  goode, 

Ferr  out  off  ioynt  thouh  sum  other  stoode. 

The  riche  rube  nor  the  saphir  ynde 

Be  nat  appeired  off  ther  fressh  beute,  6652 

Thouh  among  stony s  men  couwtirfetis  fynde; 

And  semblabli,  thouh  sumwe  women  be 

Nat  weel  gouerned  afftir  ther  degre, 

It  nat  difFaceth  nor  doth  no  violence  6656 

To  hem  that  neuer  dede  in  ther  liff  offence. 

The  white  lelie  nor  the  holsum  rose, 

Nor  violettis  spred  on  bankis  thikke, 

Ther  suet[e]nesse,  which  outward  thei  onclose,     6660 

Is  nat  appeired  with  no  weedis  wikke; 

And  thouh  that  breris,  and  many  crokid  stykke 

Growe  in  gardyns  among  the  floures  faire, 

Thei  may  the  vertu  off  herbis  nat  appaire.  6664 

And  I  dar  seyn,  that  women  vertuous 

Been  in  the[r]  vertu  off  price  mor  comendable, 

That  ther  be  sumwe  reknyd  vicious, 

And  off  ther  lyuyng  fouwde  also  onstable.  6668 

Goode  women  auhte  nat  be  partable 

Off  ther  trespas  nor  ther  wikked  deede, 

But  mor  comendid  for  ther  womanheede. 

What  was        What  is  appeired  off  Hester  the  meeknesse,  6672 

orcfytemnLtVa  Thouh  that  Scilla  was  sturdi  &  vengable? 
to  Aiceste?       ^^^  ^^  Alccste  the  parfit  stedfastnesse 
Is  nat  eclipsed,  but  mor  acceptable, 
Thouh  Clymestra  was  founde  variable;  —  6676 

Lik  as  whan  cloudis  ther  blaknesse  doun  declyne, 
Phebus  mor  cleer  doth  with  his  bemys  shyne. 

6646.   tatwiten]  to  edwiten  R  —  women]  om.  R. 
6653.   among]  ageyn  H. 

6660.  ou  ward  thei]  thei  vnward  R,  thei  outward  H. 

6661.  Is]  It  is  R.      6662.   many  a  R. 
6666.   Been]  Seen  R. 

6670.  nor]  ne  of  R.      6674.   Alciste  R. 

6676.  Thouh]  Thowh  that  R  —  Clytemestra  H,  Chtemnestra 


6678.  wi't^  his  beemys  doth  R. 

Rubies  and 
sapphires  are 
not  the  less 
beautiful  be- 
cause there  are 

nor  are  lilies 
and  roses  the 
less  sweet 
though  briars 
and  crooked  ' 
sticks  grow 
among  them. 

We  should 
prize  virtuous 
women  the 
more  because 
there  are  also 
vicious  ones. 

BK.  i]     Good  Women  mustn't  mind  what  Bochas  says  189 

Ful  many  on  ha[ue]  cleene  been  al  ther  lyue, 

Ondefouled  kept  ther  virgynyte; 

And  summe  coude  ageyn  alle  vices  stryue 

Hem  to  conserue  In  parfit  chastite, 

Deuoid  ofFchaung  and  mutabilite: 

Thouh  sum  other  ha[ue]  therageyn  trespacid. 

The  laude  off  hem  is  therwith  nat  diffacid. 

And  who  that  euer  oflF  malice  list  accuse 

These  celi  women  touchyng  variaunce, 

Lat  hem  remembre,  and  in  ther  wittis  muse, 

Men  be  nat  ay  stable  in  ther  constaunce. 

In  this  world  heer  is  no  perseueraunce; 

Chaung  is  ay  founde  in  men  &  women  bothe, 

On  outher  parti,  be  thei  neuer  so  wrothe. 

No  man  sholde  the  vertuous  atwite 

In  stede  off  hym  that  dede  the  trespace; 

Nor  for  a  theeff  a  trewe  man  endite. 

Nor  for  the  gilti  an  innocent  manace. 

Goode  and  wikked  abide  in  eueri  place; 

Ther  price,  ther  lak,  lat  hem  be  reseruyd 

To  outher  parti  as  thei  han  disseruyd. 

Thouh  John  Bochas  in  his  opynyoun 

Ageyn[es]  women  list  a  processe  make, 

Thei  that  be  goode  off  condicioun 

Sholde  ageyn  hym  no  maner  quarel  take. 

But  lihtli  passe,  and  ther  sleuys  shake; 

For  ageyn  goode  myn  auctour*  nothyng  made, 

Who  can  conceyue  theffect  off  this  balade. 

Many  hare 
lived  all  tbeir 
lives  in 

chastity:  what 
if  others  have 



And  let  the 
accusers  of 
these  poor 
6680    remember 
that  men 
are  no  better. 



One  does  not 
indict  an 
honest  man 
for  a  thief. 

6yoo    ^""^  although 
John  Bochas 
abused  bad 
women,  those 
who  are  good 
may  shake 
their  sleeves 
and  pass 
lightly  on. 



^  Thexcus  of  Bochas  for  his  vriting  agejm  mys- 
govem[ed]  vommen  in  stede  of  lenvoye.^ 

YE  women  all,  that  shal  beholde  &  see 
This  chapitle  and  the  processe  reede,  — 
Ye  that  be  goode  founde  in  your  degre, 
And  vertuous  bothe  in  thouht  and  deede, 
What  Bochas  sei[e]th,  tak[e]  ye  noon  heede; 

6679.  cleene]  clear  H.      6683.  and]  &  of  R.      6688.  ii\]  om.  R. 

6691.   in]  on  H.  6698.   lat  hem  be]  lete  be  R. 

6705.   myn  auctour]  he  B,  H,  J,  R,  P,  H  5. 

6708.   the]  this  R.  6709.   founde]  stonde  R. 

6710.   bothe]  beeth  R  —  in  dede  R.        671 1.   ye]  ther  of  R. 

*  The  same  beading  in  J.  "  This  bala'd  declareth  that  no  goode 
woman  ouhte  off  riht  to  take  A  quarell  ayens  lohn  Bochas  {jowh 
he  write  a  processe  ayens  hem  ^at  he  mysgou/rned."  MS.  R. 
leaf  41  recto. 

Good  women 
should  pay  no 
attention  to 
what  Bochas 
says.     He 
rebuked  bad 
ones  only, 
and  so 

190  Only  bad  Women  are  scolded  (^bk.  i 

For  his  writyng,  yifF  it  be  discernyd,  6712 

Is  nat  ageyn  hem  that  be  weel  gouernyd. 

thii  chapter      pOF  thouh  it  fall  that  oon,  or  too,  or  three 

doe«  not  con-       tttii  \         r  r^      -i    r      ^  t 

cern  well-be-     hia[uej  doon  amyssc,  as  therrore  God  forbeede 
at  all.  That  other  women  which  stable  &  feithful  be       6716 

Sholde  be  atwited  off  ther  ongoodliheede, 
But  mor  comendid  for  ther  womanheede: 
For  this  scripture,  yifF  it  be  concernyd, 
Is  ageyn  hem  that  be  nat  weel  gouernyd.  6720 

A  galled  jade    A  galHd  hors,  the*  sooth  yfFye  list  see,  [p.  83] 

touch,  but  good  Who  touchith  hym,  boweth  his  bak  for  dreede; 

women  have  no    •       i        i        •     i  ... 

need  to  be       And  who  IS  knowe  ontrewe  m  his  cuntre, 
sensitive.  Shrynkith  his  hornis  whan  men  speke  of  falsheede.  6724 

But  goode  women  ha[ue]  ful  litil  neede 
To  gruchch  or  frowne  whan  the  trouthe  is  lernyd,  " 
T[h]ouh  ther  be  sumwe  which  be  nat  weel  gouernyd. 

It  is  the  bad     QfF  Dalida  and  queen  Pasiphe,  6728 

scolded.  Thouh  doubiluesse  dede  ther  bridil  leede, 

Yit  off  Lucrece  and  Penolope 
The  noble  fame  abrood  doth  shyne  and  spreede: 
Out  off  good  corn  men  may  sum  darnel  weede,     6732 
Women  rebuke,  in  ther  difFautis  wernyd,* 
And  nat  touche  hem  that  be  weel  gouernyd. 

[Off  mighti  pirrus  that  slouh  pollicene  which  for  his 
pride  and  auoutrye  deied  in  pouerte/  slayn  atte 
last  bi  Horestes.3  ^ 

Among  a  com-  TJ  OCHAS  musyng  in  his  remembrauwce, 

pany  of  weep-      r\      .       i  •  i        i    •      i   •      r 

ing  princes,       A-*  And  considrcd  m  his  rantasie  6736 

The  onseur  trust  off  worldli  variaunce. 
Off  men  &  women  the  chauwg  and  the  folic, 
The  same  tyme  he  sauh  a  cuwpanye 

6713.   ayens   R.       6716.   which^  which   Jjat   R  —  feithfiill   & 
stable  H. 

6720.  ayens  R. 

6721.  the]  this  veray  B  —  the  sooth  yff  ye  list  see]  this  verrey 
soth  in  deede  H,  })is  is  v^rray  sothe  in  R. 

6724.   his]  ow!.  R.      6727.   which]l)atH.      6728.   and]&ofR. 
6733.   rebuke]  rebukid  H,  rebuked  R  3  —  in]  of  H  —  diffautis] 
defaute  R  —  wernyd]  quernyd  B,  J,  quernyde  R,  wernyd  Hi 
6737.   off]  &  R. 

^MS.  J.  leaf  35  recto. 

BK.  l] 

Pyrrbus,  Son  of  Achilles 

Off  myhti  pryncis,  ful  pitousli  wepyng,  6740 

To  hym  appeere  ther  fortune  compleynyng. 

Among  other  that  put  hemsilff  in  pres, 

Off  myhti  Pirrus  first  he  hadde  a  siht, 

That  was  the  sone  off  worthi  Achilles,  6744 

Among  Grekis  the  moste  famous  knyht, 

Most  comendid  off  manhod  &  off  myht, 

Sone  and  next  heir,  [as]  bookis  specefie, 

Off  Pelleus  kyng  off  Thesalie.  6748 

This  Achilles,  ful  manli  off  his  herte, 

Hurt  off  Ector,  and  his  wounde  greene, 

Slouh  Ector  afftir  or  he  dede  aduerte. 

The  which  Achilles,  for  loue  off  Polliceene,  6752 

Bi  compassyng  off  Eccuba  the  queene, 

Vnder  trete  this  Grekis  champeoun 

Was  slayn  off  Paris  withynne  Troie  tou«. 

Whos  deth  tauenge  Pirrus  in  his  teene,  6756 

Furiousli,  with  face  ded  and  pale, 

Slouh  afftirward  the  said[e]  Polliceene, 

And  djsmembrid  al  on  pecis  smale, 

Which  for  to  heere  is  a  pitous  tale,  6760 

That  a  knyht  so  vengable  was  in  deede 

To  slen  a  maide,  quakyng  in  hir  dreede. 

He  koude  for  ire  on  hir  no  merci  haue; 

But  with  his  suerd,  most  furious  &  wood,  6764 

Merciles  vpon  his  fadres  graue, 

Lik  a  tirant  he  shadde  hir  chast[e]  blood. 

The  deede  horrible  diffacid  his  knyhthod. 

That  to  this  day  the  sclaundre  &  the  diffame       6768 

Be  newe  report  reboundeth  on  his  name. 

Poetis  seyn,  and  speciali  Guide 

Writ,  whan  Grekis  fro  Troie  sholde  saile, 

How  ther  shippis  ban  anker*  dede  ride,  67-2 

Off  ther  purpos  which  longe  made  hem  faile. 

But  in  this  while,  he  maketh  rehersaile, 

Out  off  therthe,  manacyng  off  cheers, 

Off  Achilles  an  ymage  dede  appeere.  6776 

6741.   appeere]  appered  R.       6742.   in]  om.  R. 
6747.   as]  om.  H.      6759.   al]  hir  R. 
6763.   forire]ofn.  R.       6767.  The]  l)at  H. 
6768.   difFame]  fame  R. 

6772.   ban  anker]  bananker  B,  an  hankre  R,  bi  an  anker  J, 
P,  H  s. 


Pyrrhus,  son 
of  Achilles, 
appeared  to 

Achille*  slew 
Hector,  and 
Paris  Achaies, 
when  he  came 
to  Troy  for 
love  of  Pdyi- 
ena,  whom 
Pyrrhus  after- 
wards dismem- 

on  his  father's 
grave,  a  hor- 
rible deed. 

Poets  say  that 
Achilles  af>- 
[>eared  to  the 
Greeks  before 
they  sailed 
from  Troy, 

192  The  Cruelty  of  Pyrrhus  [j&vl.  i 

demanding        Xo  Grckis  saldc  with  a  dedli  face, 

that  they  make  ,,_   ^     ,  ,  ,  „  1       •      * 

a  sacrifice  of       1  teclc  wecl  myn  honour  &  my  glorie, 
atone  for  his     And  my  noblcssc  ful  lihtli  foorth  dooth  pace, 
mur  er.  Onkyndc  peeple,  out  of  your  memorie,  6780 

Which  bi  me  hadde  your  conquest  &  victorie. 
Your  deuer  doth  Polliceene  to  take. 
And  on  my  graue  a  sacrefise  to  make. 

How  she  died    With  hir  blood  looke  ye  spare  nouht  6784 

18  told  m  Ovid.  _,  -11  1 

lo  sprynge  it  round  aboute  my  sepulture; 

Thus  blood  for  blood  with  vengauwce  shal  be  bouht, 

And  for  my  deth,  the  deth  she  mut  endure." 

And  hool  the  maner  off  this  auenture,  6788 

And  how  she  deied  in  hir  maydenheed, 

Methamorphoseos,  the  processe  ye  may  reed. 

Pyrrhus  was      In  hasti  vengauwce  set  was  al  his  ioie, 

thirsty;  he  slew  With  thrust  onstaunchid  Troian  blood  to  sheede;  6792 

carried  off        He  slouh  PHam,  the  worthi  kyng  off  Troie, 

Andromache.        ^^j  j^^^  q^.^^^  ^j^j^  ^^^  ^^  j^j^  j^^j^ 

Andromecha*  —  the  story  ye  may  reede  — 

Wed  did  hir,  and  afFtir  in  certeyne  6796 

Be  hym  she  hadde  worthi  sonys  tweyne. 

He  also  became  But  in  repairyug  hom  to  his  cuntre, 

sook  An'drom-  As  Eolus  dede  his  shippis  dryue, 

Hermione,        I  fyudc  he  was  a  pirat  off  the  se;  6800 

And  into  Grece  whan  he  dede  aryue, 

Fortune  onwarli  gan  ageyn  hym  stryue: 

Forsook  his  wifF,  leet  hir  lyue  alone, 

Took  a-nother  callid  Hermyone.  6804 

Orestes'  wife,     Which  was  that  tyme  ioyned  in  mariage  [p.  84] 

by  force.    The    „      „  rr  A  if        tJ 

reward  of  lo  rlorcstes,  soue  oiT  Agamenoun; 

aiwayTsudden   And  hc,  alas,  off  wilful  louys  rage, 

fortu^ne°'  ""*"    Took  hir  be  force  to  his  possessiouw.  6808 

But  off  auoutrie  folwith  this  guerdouw, 
Sodeyn  deth,  pouerte  or  shame. 
Open  disclaundr^,  gret  myscheeff  or  diffame. 

6778,  80,  81.   gloire,  memoire,  victoire  B. 

6779.  dooth]  do  H. 

6781.   your  conquest  had  H.       6787.   she]  ye  R. 
6795.   Andromecha]  Andromada  B,  J. 
6799.   Eolus]  solus  R.      6802.   began  R. 
6809.   auoutrie]  Auentwre  R  —  this]  his  R. 
681 1,  disclauwdr^]  Sclaundre  R. 

BK.  l] 

Canace  and  Mac  are  us 

Eek  in  his  tyme  this  Pirrus,  as  I  reede,  6812 

Fill  into  myscheefF  and  gret  pouerte; 
And  with  such  meyne  as  he  dede  leede, 
He  was  a  rouere,  and  robbed  on  the  se. 
.  And  as  poetis  reherse,  ye  may  see,  6816 

Off  such  robbyng  be  sclaundre  &*  diffame 
This  woord  Pirat  off  Pirrus  took  the  name. 

And  as  the  story  afftir  doth  deuise, 

The  said  Horestes  gan  secreli  espie  6820 

Wher  that  Pirrus  dede  sacrefise 

Toforn  Apollo,  that  god  to  magnefie. 

Ful  onwarli  Horestes  off  enuie 

Took  a  sharp  suerd  or  Pirrus  coude  aduerte  6824 

Wher  that  he  stood,  &  roof  hym  thoruh  the  herte. 

This  was  the  fyn  off  Pirrus  in  substaunce, 

For  al  his  pride  and  gret  presumpcioun. 

Off  fals  auoutrie  folwith  this  vengaunce:  6828 

Losse  off  sum  membre,  pouert  or  prisoun. 

Or  hatful  sclaundre  bi  sum  occasioun. 

Or  sodeyn  deth,  shortli  in  sentence, 

Compleet  in  Pirrus  be  ful  cleer  euidence.  6832 


P>rrhni  fdl 
into  poverty 
before  he  died, 
and  the  word 
pirate  is 
derived  from 
bis  name. 

Finally  he  was 
slain  by 
Orestes  before 
the  altar  of 

That  was  his 
deserved  end; 
for  be  was  aa 

[^Ofif  Machaire  and  his  suster  Canace.J  ^ 

AFFTIR  this  Pirrus  cam  Canace  the  faire. 
With  teres*  distillyng  from  hir  eyen  tweyne, 
And  hir  brother,  that  callid  was  Machaire; 
And  bothe  thei  gan  ful  pitousli  compleyne,  6836 

That  Fortune  gan  at  hem  so  disdeyne, 
Hyndryng  ther  fate  be  woful  auenture 
Toiichyng  ther  loue,  which  was  ageyn  nature. 

He  was  hir  brother  and  hir  loue  also,  6840 

As  the  story  pleynli  doth  declare; 

And  in  a  bed  thei  lay  eek  bothe  too, 

Resoun  was  non  whi  thei  sholde  spare: 

But  loue  that  causith  wo  and  eek  weelfare,  6844 

Gan  ageyn  kynde  so  straungeli  deuise, 

That  he  hir  wombe  made  sodenli  tarise. 

6812.  Eek]  Also  R.  6817.   &]  &  be  B,  R. 

6832.   MS.   R  omits  lines    I.   6833   to    II,   749.  —  Compleet] 

Compleynt  H. 
6834.  With  teres]  Teris  B  (Witi>  ter«  H,  R  3,  with  teares  P). 
6836.   fuQom.  J. 

^MS.  J.  leaf  35  verso. 

After  Pyrrhus, 
Canace  and  her 
brother  Maca- 
reus  appeared 
to  Bochas  com- 
plaining pite- 

They  loved  one 
another  against 

194  Canace  and  Macareus  []bk.  i 

*nd  she  had  a  And  fynali,  myii  auctour  berth  witnesse, 
which  eiceiied    A  child  shc  haddc  bi  hir  owne  brother,  6848 

ID   eau  y.        Which  excelHd  in  fauour  and  fairnesse; 
For  lik  to  hym  ofF  beute  was  non  other. 
But  off  ther  loue  so  guyed  was  the  rother,  • 

That  Karibdis,  tween  wyndis  ful  contraire,  6852 

Hath  Canace  destroied  and  Machaire. 
But  when         For  whan  ther  fadir  the  maner  dede  espie 
father,  heard     OfF  ther  werkyug,  which  was  so  horrible, 
went  mad* for    For  ire  almost  he  fill*  in  frenesie,  6856 

"»«■  Which  for  tappese  was  an  inpossible; 

For  the  mater  was  froward  &  odible: 
For  which,  pleynli,  deuoid  off  al  pite, 
Vpon  ther  trespas  he  wolde  auenged  be.  6860 

and  sought  to    The  cause  knowe,  the  fadir  anon  riht 

kill  them  both.    ^^  r  i  i       i         rr     •  •  i 

Macareus  fled.  Castc  lOt  ther  deth  oit  rigour  to  prouide; 
no'^means  oi      For  which  Machaire  fledde  out  off  his  siht. 

And  from  his  face  his  presence  gan  to  hide.  6864 

But,  o  alas!  his  suster  muste  abide, 

Merciles,  for  ther  hatful  trespace 

Suffre  deth;  ther  was  non  other  grace. 
escape,  and       First  hir  fader  a  sharp  suerd  to  hir  sente  6868 

Eolus  sent  her     _  ,  rr    i      ^     r  i 

a  sharp  sword    In  tokne  ott  deth  tor  a  remembrauwce, 
death.*"  °        And  whau  she  wiste  pleynli  what  he  mente 
And  conceyued  his  rigerous  ordenaunce, 
With  hool  purpos  tobeien  his  plesauwce,  6872 

She  gruchchith  nat,  but  lowli  off  entente 
Lich  a  meek  doubter  to  his  desir  assente. 
Like  a  meek      But  or  she  died  she  caste  for  to  write 

daughter  she         a    i-    -i   i  i   ■      i  i  i 

agreed  to  die,    A  litil  letttc  to  hir  brother  deere,  6876 

a"Httie"iette°r^  to  A  dedU  compleyut  compleyne  &  endite 
her  brother.      ^j^}^  p^|g  f^^^  ^^^  ^  mortal  chccrc, 

The  salt[e]  teris  from  hir  eyen  cleere, 

With  pitous  sobbyng,  fet  from  hir  hertis  brynke,  6880 

Distillyng  douw  to  tempre  with  hir  ynke. 

The  lettre  of  compleynt  of  Canace  to  hir  brothir 

"You  are  the    /^UT  off  hir  swouhfe]  wha«  she  dede  abraide,[p.8d 

cause  of  my         ■       ■  "^^      ''^ 


sorrow,  once      V-/    Knowyng  no  meue  but  deth  in  hir  distresse. 

chief  source  of 
my  joy 

To  hir  brother  ful  pitousli  she  saide:  6884 

6852,  53.   Con^rarye,  Macharye  H.         6856.   he  fill  almost  B 
^  The  same  heading  in  MS.  J.  leaf  36  recto. 



Canace's  Letter  of  Complaint 


"Cause  off  my  sorwe,  roote  off  myn  heuynesse. 
That  whilom  were  cheeff  sours  off  my  gladnesse, 
Whan  bothe  our  ioies  be  will  were  so  disposid, 
Vnder  o  keie  our  hertis  to  be  enclosid.*  6888 

Whilom  thou  were  support  and  sekirnesse, 
Cheeff  reioisshyng  off  my  worldli  plesaunce; 
But  now  thou  art  the  ground  off  my  siknesse, 
Welle  off  wanhope,  off  my  dedli  penaunce,  6892 

Which  haue  off  sorwe  grettest  habundaunce 
That  euer  yit  hadde  any  creature, 
Which  mut  for  loue  the  deth  alas  endure! 

"Alas,  I  mu»t 
endure  death 
for  lovel 





Thou  were  whilom  my  blisse  &  al  my  trust, 
Souereyn  confort  my  sorwes  to  appese, 
Spryng  and  well  off  al  myn  hertis  lust; 
And  now,  alas,  cheeff  roote  off  my  disese. 
But  yiff  my  deth  myht  do  the  any  ese, 
O  brother  myn,  in  remembraunce  off  tweyne, 
Deth  shal  to  me  be  plesaunce  &  no  peyne. 

Mi  cruel  fader,  most  onmerciable, 

Ordeyned  hath,  it  needis  mut  be  soo, 

In  his  rigour  he  is  so  ontretable, 

Al  merciles  he  will  that  it  be  doo,  — 

That  we  algate  shal  deie  bothe  too. 

But  I  am  glad,  sithe  it  may  been  noon  other. 

Thou  art  escapid,  my  best  beloued  brother. 

This  is  myn  eende,  I  may  it  nat  asterte, 

0  brother  myn,  there  is  no  mor  to  seye, 

Lowli  besechyng  with  al  myn  hool[e]  herte  6912 

For  to  remembre  speciali  I  preie, 

Yiff  it  befall  my  litil  sone  deie, 

That  thou  maist  afftir  sum  mynde  vpon  us  haue, 

Suffre  us  bothe  be  buried  in  o  graue.  6916 

1  holde  hym  streihtli  atwen  myn  armys  tweyne. 
Thou  and  Nature  leide  on  me  this  charge; 

He  gilt[e]les  with  me  mut  suffre  peyne. 

And  sithe  thou  art  at  fredam  and  at  large,  6920 

Lat  kynd[e]nesse  our  loue  nat  so  discharge, 

But  haue  a  mynde,  where-euer  that  thou  be, 

Onys  a  day  vpon  my  child  and  me. 

"  But  if  my 
death  be  of 
avail  to  you, 
my  brother,  it 
will  be  a 
pleasure  and 
no  pain. 

"My  cruel 
father  has  or- 
dained that 
both  of  us 
must  die,  and 
I  am  glad  you 

"And  if  my 
little  son  also 
die,  I  beg  you 
not  to  forget 

"Let  us  both 
be  buried  in 
one  grave,  and 
wherever  you 
may  be  have  a 
mind  on  us 
once  a  year. 


enclosid]  onclosid  B. 
alias  \>t  deth  H,  R  3. 

6901.   ofTJof  us  R  3. 


Canace^s  Letter  of  Complaint 

[bk.  I 

"It  is  not  just 
that  our  young 
child  should 

he  lies  still  as 
a  lamb,  only  a 
heart  of  steel 
could  do  him 

"My  father, 
your  revenge  is 
too  cruel! 

"Was  there 
ever  creature 
who  felt  more 
dole  than  I? 

"My  father  is 
a  mortal  enemy, 
who  seeks  our 

"Alas,  my 
brother,  that 
should  come 
before  mercy. 

On  the  and  me  dependith  the  trespace  6924 

Touchyng  our  gilte*  and  our  gret  offence; 

But,  wellaway,  most  angelik  off  face, 

Our  yonge  child  in  his  pur  innocence 

Shal  ageyn  riht  sufFre  dethis  violence,  6928 

Tendre  off  lymes,  God  wot,  ful  gilt[e]les, 

The  goodli  faire  that  lith  heere  specheles. 

A  mouth  he  hath,  but  woordis  hath  he  noone, 

Cawnat  compleyne,  alas,  for  non  outrage,  6932 

Nor*  gruchith  nat,  but  lith  heer  al  a-loone, 

Stille  as  a  lamb,  most  meek  oiF  his  visage. 

What  herte  off  steel  coude  doon  to  hym  damage. 

Or  sufFre  hym  deie,  beholdyng  the  maneer  6936 

And  look  benygne  off  his  tweyne  eyen  cleer? 

O  thou,  my  fader,  to  cruel  is  thi  wreche, 

Hardere  off  herte  than  tigre*  or  leoun. 

To  slen  a  child  that  lith  withoute  speche,  6940 

Void  off  al  mercy  and  remissioun. 

And  on  his  mooder  hast  no  compassiouw, 

His  youthe  considred,  with  lippis  softe  as  silk. 

Which  at  my  brest  lith  still  &  souketh  mylk.        6944 

Ys  any  sorwe  remembrid  be  writyng. 

Onto  my  sorweful  sihhes  comparable?* 

Or  was  ther  euer  creature  lyuyng 

That  felte  off  dool  a  thyng  mor  lamentable?         6948 

For  couwfortles  and  onrecuperable 

Ar  thilke  hepid  sorwes,  ful  off  rage. 

Which  han  with  wo  oppressid  my  corage. 

Rekne  all  myscheuys  in  especiall,  6952 

And  on  my  myscheeff  remembre  &ha[ue]  goodmynde: 

Mi  lord  my  fadir,  is  myn  enmy  mortall. 

Experience  inouh  theroff  I  fynde; 

For  in  his  pursuit  he  hath  lefft  behynde,  6956 

In  destrucciouw  off  the,  my  child  and  me, 

Routhe  and  al  mercy  and  fadirli  pite. 

And  the,  my  brother,  auoidid  from  his  siht, 

Which  in  no  wise  his  grace  maist  atteyne,  6960 

Alas  that  rigour,  vengaunce  &  cruel  riht 



me  &  the  H.       6925.   gilte]  gile  B,  J,  H. 
that]  which  H,R  3.      6933.  Nor]  NarB. 
tigre]  any  tigre  B,  H,  J,  R  3,  H  5,  P. 
comparable]  incomparable  B,  J,  H  5. 
my  myschevis  J.       6956.   his]  this  H. 
vengaunce  Rigour  H. 

BK.  i]  Canace's  Letter  of  Complaint  197 

Sholde  a-boue  merci  be  lord  &*  souereyne! 

But  cruelte  doth  at  me  so  disdeyne, 

That  thou,  my  brother,  my  child  &  also  I  6964 

Shal  deie  alas  exiled*  from  al  mercy. 

Mi  fader  whilom,  be  many  sundri  signe,  [p.  86]  |[Our  father 

Was  my  socour,  my  supportacioun,  nign  and 

rr>         1  1  -01  „     gracious  to  us, 

10  the  and  me  most  gracieux  &  benygne,  6968  but  now  our 

r\  1JI*      1     J  1       ■  nameisjpotted 

Uur  worldli  giadnesse,  our  consoiacioun.  with  slander. 

But  loue  and  Fortune  ha[ue]  turned  up-so-doun  To'^ISsh  awfy. 

Our  grace,  alas,  our  welfare  &  our  fame. 
Hard  to  recure,  so  sclaundrid  is  our  name.  6972 

Spot  off  diffamyng  is  hard  to  wasshe  away, 

Whan  noise  and  rumowr  abrod  do  folk  manace; 

To  hyndre  a  man  ther  may  be  no  delay: 

For  hatful  fame  fleeth  ferr  in  ful  short  space.        6976 

But  off  vs  tweyne  ther  is  non  othir  grace 

Sauff  onli  deth,  and  afftir  deth,  alas, 

Eternal  sclaundre  off  vs;  thus  stant  the  cas. 

Whom  shal  we  blame,  or  whom  shal  we  atwite     6980  "Whom  shall 

f^  ff  .   I  .  1*1^  we  blame  but 

Uur  gret  oirence,  sithe  we  may  it  nat  hide?  the  god  Cupid, 

For  our  excus  reportis  to  respite 

Mene  is  ther  non,  except  the  god  Cupide. 

And  thouh  that  he  wolde  for  vs  prouide,  6984 

In  this  mateer  to  been  our  cheeff  refuge, 

Poetis  seyn  he  is  blynd  to  been  a  iuge. 

He  is  depeynt[e]  lich  a  blynd  archer,  who  i»  blind 

nr«  t  *i        r   "1  i*  •  2nd  knows  not 

lo  marke  anht  lailyng  discrecioun,  6988  where  his 

Holdyng  no  meseur,  nouther  ferr  nor  neer;  arrows  strike. 

But  lik  Fortunys  disposicioun, 

Al  upon  happ,  void  off  al  resoun. 

As  a  blynd  archer  with  arwes  sharp[e]  grounde    6992 

Off  auenture  yeueth  many  a  mortal  wouwde. 

At  the  and  me  he  wrongli  dede  marke,  "He  did  wTong 

Felli  to  hyndre  our  fatal  auentures, 

As  ferr  as  Phebus  shynyth  in  his  arke,  6996 

To  make  us  refus  to  alle  creatures, 

Callid  us  tweyne  onto  the  woful  lures 

Off  diffame,  which  will  departe  neuere, 

Be  newe  report  the  noise  encresyng  euere.  7000 

6962.  lorde  &]  ladl  B,  J,  P,  H  5,  R  3. 

6965.  exiled  alas  B,  J,  H  5,  P.      6968.   gracious  J,  P,  R  3,  H  5. 

6992.   I  grownde  H.       6997.   us]  om.  H. 

to  aim  at  us. 


The  Death  of  Canace 

[bk.  I 

"Evil  report 
flies  with  swift 
wings,  and 
good  fame  is 
hindered  by 
envy.     No 
man  complains 
of  his  own 

Odious  fame  with  swifft  wengis  fleeth, 

But  al  good  fame  en  vie  doth  restreyne; 

Ech  man  off  other  the  diffautis  seeth, 

Yit  on  his  owne  no  man  will  compleyne.  7004 

But  al  the  world  out  crieth  on  vs  tweyne, 

Whos  hatful  ire  hi  us  may  nat  be  queemyd; 

For  I  mut  deie,  my  fader  hath  so  deemyd. 

"Now  I  must    Now  farweel,  brother,  to  me  it  doth  suffise  7008 

you  for  ever.     To  deie  alloue  for  our  bothe  sake. 

And  in  my  moste  feithful  humble  wise, 

Onto  my  dethward  thouh  I  tremble  &  quake, 

Off  the  for  euere  now  my  leue  I  take.  7013 

And  onys  a  yeer,  forget  nat,  but  take  heed, 

Mi  fatal  day  this  lettre  for  to  reed. 

Have  mind  on  So  shaltow  han  on  me  sum  remembrauwce, 

Mi  name  enprentid  in  thi  kalender,  7016 

Bi  rehersaile  off  my  dedli  greuauwce; 

Were  blak  that  day,  &  mak  a  doolful  cheer. 

And  whan  thou  comest  &  shalt  approche  neer 

Mi  sepulture,  I  pray  the  nat  disdeyne  7020 

Vpon  my  graue  sum  we  teris  for  to  reyne." 

^  Writyng  hir  lettir,  awappid  al*  in  dreede, 

In  hir  riht  hand  hir  pewne  gan  to  quake; 

And  a  sharp  suerd  to  make  hir  herte  bleede  7024 

In  his  lefFt  hand,  hir  fader  hath  hir  take. 

And  most  hir  sorwe  was  for  hir  childes  sake, 

Vpon  whos  face  in  hir  barm  slepyng 

Ful  many  a  teer  she  wepte  in  compleynyng.  7028 

AfFtir  al  this,  so  as  she  stood  and  quook, 

Hir  child  beholdyng,  myd  off  hir  peynes  smerte, 

Withoute  abood  the  sharp[e]  suerd  she  took 

And  roofF  hirselfF  euene  to  the  herte.  7032 

Hir  child  fill  doun,  which  myht[e]  nat  asterte, 

Hauyng  non  helpe  to  socoure  hym  nor  saue, 

But  in  hir  blood  the  silfF  began  to  bathe. 

Eoius  then       And  thanwc  hir  fader,  most  cruel  off  entent,  7036 

^thTtTh"e  child    Bad  that  the  child  sholde  anon  be  take, 
touid  by  Ifogs. Off  cruel  houndis  in  haste  for  to  be  rent 
And  be  deuoured  for  his  mooder  sake. 

me  once  a 
year,  wear 
black  that  day 
and  do  not 
disdain  to  let 
fall  some  tears 
on  my  grave." 

Her  sorrow  was 
more  for  her 
child  than  for 
herself,  and 

with  a  sword 
that  her  father 
placed  in  her 
hand  she 
pierced  her 

Off  this  tragedie  thus  an  eende  I  make, 


7019.   shalt]  shal  H.       7022.    al]  and  B,  J.       7024.   a]  om.  H 
7025.    his]  hir  H.       7035.    But]  om.  H,  R  3. 



An  Envoy  on  basty  Vengeance 


Processe  off  which,  men  may  reede  and  see, 
Concludith  on  myscheefF  &  furious  cruelte. 

Remembryng  first,  as  maad  is  mencioun, 

How  that  Pirrus  delited  hym  in  deede,  7044 

Whan  Troie  was  brouht  to  destruccioun, 

With  cruel  suerd[e]  Troian  blood  to  sheede, 

But  of  such  slauhtr^,  seeth  heer  the  cruel  meede, 

As  riht  requereth,  bi  vnwar  violence,  7048 

Blood  shad  for  blood  is  fynal  recom pence. 

This  tragedy 
tells  of  mis- 
fortune and 
furious  cruelty, 
which  is  pun- 
ished in  the 


WHAN  surquedie  oppressid  hath  pite,        [p.  87] 
And  meeknesse  is  with  tirannie  bor  doun 
Ageyn  al  riht,  &*  hasti  cruelte  7052 

To  be  vengable  maketh  no  dilacioun, 
What  folweth  therofF?  —  be  cleer  inspeccioun, 
Seeth  an  exaumple  how  Pirrus  in  his  teene 
Off  hatful  ire  slouh  yonge  Polliceene.  7056 

Kyng  Eolus  to  rigerous  was,  parde. 

And  to  vengable  in  his  entencioun 

Ageyn  his  childre  Machaire  &  Canace, 

So  inportable  was  his  punycioun,  7060 

Off  haste  procedyng  to  ther  destruccioun; 

Wers  in  his  ire,  as  it  was  weel  seene. 

Than  cruel  Pirrus,  which  slouh  Polliceene. 

Noble  Pryncis,  prudent  and  attempre, 
Differrith  vengaunce,  off  hih  discrecioun; 
Til  your  ire  sumwhat  asuagid  be. 
Doth  neuer  off  doom  non  execucioun: 
For  hate  and  rancour  perturben  the  resoun 
Off  hasti  iuges,  mor  off  entent  oncleene 
Than  cruel  Pirrus  which  slouh  Polliceene. 

9  Explicit  liber  primus. 
9  Incipit  prologus  libri  sectmdi.^ 

When  pride 
oppresses  pity 
against  right, 
and  rigour 
grants  no 

King  Eotus 
was  even 
worse  in  his 
rage  than 



Noble  Princes, 
always  defer 
untU  the  heat 
of  your  anger 
is  gone. 

7047.   slauhtrif  seeth]  om.  H. 
7052.   Ageyn  al  riht  &3  And  ageyn  riht  B,  H. 
7061.   haste]  hasty  H.       7062.    his]  om.  H.       70&J.  non]  om. 
H,  R3. 

^  The  same  rubric  in  MS.  J.  leaf  38  recto. 



maTthfnk'that  '^    I    ^^  summc  follc,  parcas,  it  wolde  seeme,    [p.  87^] 
I  have  told  I        Touchvng  the  chauwges  &  mutabilites 

enough  trage-  JL  t>'  i  •  i       i  i      •  i  i 

dies,  m  me  rehersid,  that  thei  myhte  deeme, 

Off  Fortunes  strauwge  aduersites  4 

To  pryncis  shewed,  douw  pullid  from  ther  sees. 
The  tragedies  auhte  inouh  suffise 
In  compleynyng,  which  ye  han  herd  deuise. 

for  it  is  de-      The  stori  pitous,  the  processe  lamentable,  8 

pressing  when      -tt    •  ,      ^  .    .  111  1*      1 

no  joy  is  Void  otr  loie,  al  gladnesse  and*  plesauwce, 

mingled  with         .       ,  "  i  •  1  1 

pain,  A  thyng  to  greuous  and  to  mportable, 

Where-as  no  merthe  is  medlid  with  greuauwce, 
Al  upon  compleynt  standith  thalliauwce,  12 

Most  whan  Fortune,  who  that  hir  cowrs  weel  knewe, 
Chaungith  old  ioie  into  sorwes  newe. 

whliTform^e^  ^"  ^^^  ^^^^  ^Y"^  ^^^^  ncuet  wiste  ofF  wo, 

gladness  is        Remembtauwce  ofF  his  old  gladnesse,  16 

turned  into  ^-j,,  ,  .  ,p  o        l 

new  sorrow.       Whan  his  weeliare  &  plesauwce  is  ago. 

And  neuer  aforn  knew  off  non  heuynesse,  — 
Such  vnwar  chaung,  such  vnkouth  wrechidnesse 
Causith  in  pryncis,  thoruh  newe  dedli  trouble,         20 
AfFtir  ther  fallyng  ther  sorwes  to  be  double. 

But  old  exam-  Qldc  exauwples  off  pryncis  that  haruel  fall, 

pies  of  princes    ,^  ^  rr-  111 

who  have  fallen  1  het  remembrauwcc  on  newe  brouht  to  mynde, 

teach  all  estates  •»  «■  .  •11  ->  •» 

how  to  avoid     May  been  a  merour  to  estatis  all,  24 

How  thei  in  vertu  shal  remedies  fynde 
Teschewe  vices,  off  such  as  wer  maad  blynde. 
Fro  sodeyn  fallyng  hemsiluen  to  preserue, 
Longe  to  contune  and  thank  off  God  disserue.*       28 
The  ^aii  of  one  The  fall  ofF  on  is  a  cleer  lanterne 
lantern  to  an-    To  teche  a-nothet  what  he  shal  eschewe; 

other,  for  m        Ti         'i      ly  •  i  i  ■ 

men  deserve,  so  retell  oit  on,  IS,  who  cau  disccme, 
wTrdedf  "^^       Scoole  and  doctryn  from  pereil  to  remewe.  32 

As  men  disserue  such  guerdouw  ther  mut  sewe; 

9.   and]  and  al  B,  J,  H  5. 
14.   chaungyng  H  —  loies  J,  ioyes  H  5,  P. 
20.   Causid  H.      24.   to]ofH,  R3. 
28.   disserue]  to  disserue  B,  J,  P,  H  5. 
33.   ther]  om.  J,  H  5  —  ther  mut]  mvt  thei  H. 

BK.  iQ 

The  Prologue 

20 1 



In  vice  nor  vertu  no  man  may  God  deceyue, 
Lik  ther  desertis  ther  meede  thei  [shal]  receyue. 

Who  folweth  vertu  lengest  doth  perseuere, 

Be  it  in  richesse,  be  it  in  pouerte; 

Liht  off  trouthe  his  cleemesse  kepith  euere 

Ageyn  thassautis  off  al  aduersite. 

Vertu  is  cause  off  long  prosperite; 

And  whan  pryncis  fro  vertu  doun  declyne, 

Ther  fame  is  shroudid  vndir  the  cliptik  lyne. 

For  fals  Fortune,  which  tumeth  as  a  ball,         [p,  88] 
Off  vnwar  chaunges  thouh  men  hir  wheel  atwite,    44 
It  is  nat  she  that  pryncis  gaff  the  fall, 
But  vicious  lyuyng,  pleynli  to  endite: 
Thouh  God  aboue  ful  offte  hem  doth  respite, 
Longe  abidith,  and  doth  his  grace  sende  48 

To  this  entent,  thei  sholde  ther  liff  amende. 

For  ther  weelfare  and  ther  abidyng  longe. 

Who  aduertisith,  dependith  nat  on  chaunce. 

Good  liff  and  vertu  maketh  hem  to  be  stronge,        52 

And  hem  assureth  in  long  perseuerauwce; 

Vertu  on  Fortune  maketh  a  diffiaunce. 

That  Fortune  hath  no  domynacioun 

Wher  noble  pryncis  be  gouerned  be  resoun. 

But  such  as  list[e]  nat  correctid  be 
Bexaumple  off  othre  fro  vicious  gouemaunce. 
And  fro  ther  vices  list  nat  for  to  fle: 
Yiff  thei  be  troubled  in  ther  hih  puissauwce, 
Thei  arette  it  Fortunys  variaunce, 
Touchyng  the  giltes  that  thei  deden  vse, 
Ther  demerites  ful  falsli  to  excuse. 

Vertu  conserueth  pryncis  in  ther  glorie  * 
And  confermeth  ther  dominaciouns; 
And  vicis  put  ther  price  out  off  memorie. 
For  ther  trespacis  and  ther  transgressiouns. 
And  in  alle  such  sodeyn  mutaciouws, 
Thei  can  no  refut  nor  no  bet  socour, 
But  ageyn  Fortune  to  maken  ther  clamour. 

TTiose  who  fol- 
low virtue 
endure  longest, 
for  virtue  is 
the  source  of 



It  is  not 
Fortuna  who 
causes  princes 
to  fall,  but 
vicious  living. 

and  Fortuna 
has  no 
power  over 
princes  who 
are  governed 
by  reason. 


TThose  who  will 
not  learn  to 
abandon  their 
evil  ways  by 
the  example 

-       of  others, 

00     wrongly 

ascribe  their 
fall  to 

and  know  no 
better  than  to 
make  an 
outcry  against 
her  deceitfjl- 
ness,  as  if 
they  them- 
selves were 

35.  shal]  om.  J,  H  5. 

44.  vnwar]  soden  H  —  wheel]  will  H. 

49.  thei]  J)at  thei  H. 

63.  ful]  om.R  —  to]  om.  J,  H  5.      64,  66,  gloire,  memoire  B. 

67.  2nd  ther]  om.  H. 

202  The  Prologue  [bk.  ii 

Make  an  outcri  on  hir  doubilnesse, 

As  no  gilt  were  in  ther  owne  deede;  72 

Thus  ontreuli  thei  calle  hir  a  goddesse, 

Which  lite  or  nouht  may  helpe  at  such  a  neede. 

But  yifF  thei  hadde  God  in  loue  &  dreede, 

Trustid  his  lordshep  in  herte,  will  &  thouht,       '      76 

Thei  sholde  Fortune  pleynli  sette  at  nouht. 

Many  stones     Euidcncis  ful  cxpert  and  palpable, 

have  already  •iiirr-V 

been  told,  which  1  otom  rehersid,  told  ott  dyuers  ages, 

how  they  may  WorldH  glooe*  veyu  and  ful  onstable,  80 

famng.  ^  °'  ^"  With  deceites  double  off  ther  visages, 

Shewyng  to  pryncis  ferme  off  ther  corages, 
Be  these  exaumples,  how  and  in  what  wise 
By  othris*  fallyng  thei  shal  hemsilff  chastise.  84 

Comets,  strange  Signcs  shewed  and  toknes  in  the  heuene, 

constellations,  °  .  11       • 

lightning  and     Dyuets  cometis  and  constellaciouns, 

rumbling  of  the  Drecdful  thundtyng,  feerful  firi  leuene, 

sig^ns  bildfng     Rumour  in  erthe  and  gret  discenciouws,  88 

blware  and"'  Disobeisauwce  in  sondry  regiouns, 

fiveTbefore'^it    Shewen  exauwples,  ful  weel  afferme  I  dar, 

is  too  late.       Xo  myhti  pryncis,  hem  biddyng  to  be  war, 

Ther  liff  tamende  or  the  Lord  do  smyte,  92 

Thoruh  necligence  or  it  be  to  late; 

And  or  the  suerd  off  vengauwce  kerue  &  bite. 

Into  vertues  ther  vicious  liff  translate, 

Cherisshe  rihtwisnesse,  ageyn  al  wrong  debate,        96 

With  dreed  off  God  make  hemsiluen  stronger 

Than  is  no  doubte  thei  shal  enduren  longe. 

Indurate  the     Who  is  nat  wat  bi  othres  chastisyng, 

heart  that  cannot  ^^    ,  i-i  111  'ii  -""^ 

profit  by  the  fate  Uthre  bi  hym  shal  chastised  be:  loo 

o  ot  ermen.     f|^j.j  jg  jg  ^j^^^.  j^grte,  which  for  no  writyng. 

For  no  dottryn  nor  non  auctorite. 

For  non  exauwple  will  from  his  vices  flee; 

To  indurat  is  his  froward  entent,  104 

Which  wil  nat  suffre  his  hardnesse  to  relent. 

Soft  raindrops   The  touwde  dropis  off  the  smothe  reyn, 
•tones,  Which  that  discende  &  falle  from  aloffte 

80.   gloire  B  —  veyn]  full  veyn  H. 

83.  how  and  in  what  wise]]  full  wele  afferm?  I  dar^  H  (but  cor- 
rected later). 

84.  By  othris]]  Bothris  B  —  To  myhti  princis  hem  biddyng 
to  be  warir  H. 

94.   &3  or  H.       100.   shal  chastised]]  chastised  shal  H. 

BK.  Il] 

The  Prologue 


On  stonys  harde,  at  eye  as  it  is  seyn,  108 

Perceth  ther  hardnesse  with  ther  fallyng  ofFte, 

Al-be  in  touchyng,  water  is  but  sofFte; 

The  percyng  causid  be  force  nor  puissaunce, 

But  oflF  fallyng  be  long  contynuaunce.  112 

Semblabli,  ofF  riht  I  dar  reherse, 

OfFte  reedyng  on  bookis  fructuous 

The  hertis  sholde  off  prudent  pryncis  perse, 

Synke  in  ther  mynde  &  make  hem  vertuous  116 

Teschewe  all  thynge  that  is  vicious: 

For  what  auaileth  thexaumples  that  thei  reede, 

To  ther  reedyng  yifF  contraire  be  the  deede  ? 

Cunnyng  and  deede,  who  can  comprehende,  120 

In  cleer  conceites  thei  be  thynges  tweyne; 

And  yifF  cunnyng  doth  the  deede  amende, 

Than  atwen  hem  is  maad  a  myhti  cheyne, 

A  noble  thyng,  and  riht  souereyne:  124 

For  thanne  ofF  cunnyng  the  laboi^r  is  weel  spent, 

Whan  deede  folweth,  &  bothe  been  ofF  assent. 

Thus  lohn  Bochas  procedyng  in  his  book, 

Which  in  noumbre  is  callid  the  secounde, 

Gan  for  to  write,  and  his  purpos  took 

To  sette  in  stories  such  as  he  hadde  founde, 

OfF  entent  alle  vices  to  confounde 

Be  thexaumples  which  he  dede  expresse. 

And  at  the  gynnyng  ofF  his  besynesse, 

Myhti  Saul  to  hym  dede  appeere, 

Kyng  ofF  Israel,  pitousli  wepyng, 

Dedli  ofF  face,  and  with  an  hidous  cheere,  136 

His  vois  I  broke  be  manyfold  sobbyng; 

And  to  myn  auctour  his  sorwe  compleynyng, 

Requeryng  hym,  togidre  whan  thei  mette, 

First  in  his  book  his  woful  fate  to  sette.  140 

Anon  afFtir,  I  ofF  entencioun, 

With  penne  in  hande  faste  gan  me  speede, 

As  I  koude,  in  my  translacioun. 

In  this  labour  ferthere  to  proceede,  144 

My  lord  cam  forbi,  and  gan  to  taken  heede; 

and  the  fre- 
quent reading 
of  good  books 
ought  to  make 

If  actions  are 
governed  by- 
true  knowledge 
one's  labour 
is  wdl  q>ent. 

[p.   89] 

TTius  John 
Bochas  begins 
128     his  Second 


First  Saul  ap- 
peared, begging 
him,  in  a  voice 
broken  by  sobs, 
to  write  his 

And  whilst  I 
continued  in 
my  translation, 
my  lord,  IDuke 
came  by  and 
bade  me  set  an 
envoy  at  the 
end  of  each 

126.  ofTJatH,  R3.       127.  Thus]  This  H.       129.  and]  In  H. 

130.  hadde]  hath  H. 

136.  an  hidous]  a  pitouse  H,  a  pitous  R  3. 

140.  to]  otn.  H,  R  3. 

204  The  Story  of  Saul  ^bk.  ii 

This  myhti  prynce,  riht  manli  &  rlht  wis, 
GafF  me  charge  in  his  prudent  auys, 

tragedy  for  the  That  I  sholdc  in  eucri  tragcdie,  148 

of  noble  princes;  AfFtif  the  pFocesse  made  menciouw. 
At  the  eende  sette  a  remedie, 
With  a  lenvoie  conueied  be  resoun, 
And  afftir  that,  with  humble  afFecciouw,  152 

To  noble  pryncis  lowli  it  directe, 
Bi  othres  fallyng  [thei  myht]  themsilfFcorrecte.* 
And  I  obeied  his  biddyng  and  plesaunce, 
Vnder  support  off  his  magnyficence.  156 

As  I  coude,  I  gan  my  penne  auaunce, 
Al-be  I  was  bareyn  off  eloquence, 
Folwyng  myn  auctoMr  in  substaunce  &  sentence: 
For  it  suffised,  pleynli,  onto  me,  160 

So  that  my  lord  my  makyng  took  at  gre. 

^  Finis  prologi  libri  secundi. 
^  Sequitur  liber  secundus. 

and,  to  please 
my  lord,  I 
obeyed,  al- 
though barren 
of  eloquence. 

Saul  was  born 
of  the  Ime  of 
Once,  when 
seeking  his 
father's  asses. 

[How  Saul,  Kyng  of  lerusdem  bom  of  low  degre  as 
long  as  he  dred  god  was  obedient  to  him/ and 
rewlid  by  good  counsaile  had  many  grete  dis- 
confitures/  but  atte  last/  for  his  pride  presump- 
cioun  and  grete  disobysaunce/  he  lost  his  crowne 
and  was  slajna  by  Philestees.]  ^ 

THIS  said[e]  Saul,  of  whom  I  spak  toforn,  [p.  91] 
Ful  weel  compact  &  large  of  his  stature, 
Off  the  lyne  of  Bewiamyn  eek  born,  164 

His  fader  Ceis  was  callid  in  Scripture, 
Whos  assis  whilom  lefFte*  ther  pasture;  — 
Space  off  thre  daies  Saul  hadde  hem  souht, 
Loste  his  labour  and  ne  fond  hem  nouht. 

a  child  For  thei  were  gon  out  so  ferr  a-stray, 

him  to  leave  off  So  disscucred  hc  nc  koude  hem  meete, 
s^muef'"     Til  that  a  child  hym  suyng  al  the  way 
Gaff  hym  couwseil  his  labour  for  to  lete, 
And  that  he  sholde  gon  to  the  prophete, 
Which  was  ful  famous  holde  in  Israel, 
Off  whom  the  name  was  callid  Samuel. 

154.   correcte]  to  correcte  B. 

166.   leffte]  lefften  B,  leften  J,  lost  H. 

1  MS.  J.  leaf  38  recto,  as  long]  aslong  J. 



BK.  Il] 

The  Story  of  Saul 

Which  Saul  made  in  his  hous  to  dyne,  176 

Receyued  hym  ofFgret  affeccioun; 

And  be  precept  &  ordenaunce  deuyne, 

Samuel  made  no  prolongacioun, 

But  shadde  the  hooli  sacred  vnccioun  180 

Vpon  the  hed  off  Saul,  doun  knelyng, 

And  ful  deuoutli  off  Israel  made  hym  kyng. 

Off  goddis  peeple  to  ha[ue]  the  gouernaunce. 

With  sceptre  &  crowne,  and  hool  the  regalie.  184 

And  his  noblesse  mor  myhtili  tauaunce, 

With  meek[e]nesse  to  reule  his  monarchie, 

God  gaiF  to  hym  a  sperit  off  prophecie. 

Which  was  gret  glorie*  to  his  magnyficence,  188 

Off  futur  thynges  to  haue  prescience. 

And  whil  that  he  was  meek  &  humble  in  deede. 

Void  off  pride  and  fals  presumpcioun. 

And  prudent  counsail  with  hym  dede  leede,  192 

Hym  to  goueme  bi  good  discrecioun. 

He  fond  quiete  thoruh  al  his  regeoun; 

No  foreyn  enmy  durst  hym  tho  werreye, 

Whil  he  the  Lord  meekli  dede  obeie.  196 

Non  enmy  myhte  ageyn[e]s  hym  recure 

Thoruh  non  enprises,  but  sore  dede  hym  dreede;  — 

Made  many  gret  disconfiture 

Thoruh  his  force,  knyhthod  &  manheede  200 

On  Philistes,  and  dauntid  eek  in  deede 

Too  myhti  kynges,  the  ton  off  Ammonytes, 

And  a-nother,  that  gouemed  Moabites. 

He  was  founde  eek  strong  and  victorious,  204 

The  Palestynes  bryngyng  to  myschaunce; 

Geyn  Ydumes,  so  myhti  and  famous, 

Thoruh  his  knyhtli  prudent  gouernaunce, 

That  he  ther  pride  brouhte  onto  vttraunce,  208 

Outraied  hem  off  wisdam  and  manheede,  — 

Primo  Reguw,  as  ye  may  pleynli  reede. 

He  was  a  sone  callid  off  o  yeer. 

In  Israel  whan  his  regne  began,  212 

Stable  off  herte  and  benygne  off  cheer, 

Froward  nor  sturdi  to  no  maner  man. 

Al  that  while  loue  off  the  peeple  he  wan, 

179.  no]  no  long  H,  noo  longe  R  3.       188.   gloire  B. 
195-  tho]  to  H,  J,  P,  H  s.      204.  founde]  om.  H,  R  3. 


who  received 
bim  with  affec- 
tion and 
anointed  him 
King  of  Itrael. 

God  gave  Saul 
a  spirit  of 

and  he  ruled 
with  wisdom 
and  prospered 

and  was  suc- 
cessful  against 
his  enemie*. 

and  defeated 
among  others 
the   Idumeans, 
as  you  may 
read  in  the 
First  Book  of 

So  long  as  he 
remained  kind 
and  stable  of 
heart,  he  kept 
the  love  of  his 

2o6  SauVs  Pride  and  Wilfulness  [^bk.  ii 

The  tyme,  I  meene,  whil  he  was  iust  &  stable,       216 
And  in  his  werkis  nat  founde*  variable. 

but  when  he     But  whan  that  pride  gan  his  herte  enhauwce, 

grew  proud  and  -  /  ° 

wilful  and  no     Wiltulnesse  and  lals  malencolie 

God,  Outraied  resoun,  to  ha[ue]  the  gouernaunce  220 

OfF  his  olde  famous  policie, 
And  hadde  forgetyn  in  his  fantasie 
To  knowe  the  Lord  &  meekH  sue  his  lawe, 
God  from  his  crowne  his  grace  gan  withdrawe.       224 

God  withdrew    Thonkynde  werm  off  foryetilnesse 
him.  In  his  herte  hadde  myned  thoruh  the  wall, 

Whan  he  to  God,  for  his  kynd[e]nesse, 
Gaff  no  laude  nor  no  thank  attall,  228 

Which  hadde  hym  reised  onto  estat  royall 
Fro  pore  degre,  mong  al  his  kyn  alone, 
Be  synguler  fauour  to  sette  hym  in  his  throne. 

What  is  more    What  thyng  in  herte  mor  froward  mai  be  thouht  232 

f reward  than        ,_p,,  •        i  i  r   ^ 

the  presump-  1  han  IS  the  sodcyu  rals  presumpcioun 
8u°ddeniy  °°^  Off  a  wrechchc  that  cam  vp  off  nouht, 
powM?^°  To  yeue  hym  lordshepe  and  dominacioun.? 

And  for  to  make  a  pleyn  comparisouw,  236 

Men  sholde  off  resoun  dreede  a  leoun  lasse 
Than  the  reudnesse  off  a  crownyd  asse. 

A  lion  is  less    What  thyug  to  God  is  mor  abhomynable 

to  be  feared         ,^,  r,    "  .        ,  ~  , 

than  a  crowned  1  han  pride  upreised  out  ort  pouertc^  240 

And  nothyng  gladli  is  founde  mor  vengable 
Than  ar  wrechchis  set  in  hih  degre: 
For  from  his  stok  kynde  may  nat  fle; 
Ech  thyng  resortith,  how  ferr  euer  it  go,  244 

To  the  nature  which  that  it  cam  fro. 

reve^n  ifui"thln  ^^"^  ^"^  apples  taken  ther  tarage  [p.  92] 

a  wretch  set  in  Whcr  thei  fitst  grcuh  off  the  same  tre, 

Every  creature  And  scmblabH  ech  kyurcede  &  lynage  —  248 

inherited'*        Onys  a  yeer  it  will  non  othir  be  — 

nature.  g^  tokuc  OX  signe,  at  eye  as  men  may  see, 

Draweth  comounli  in  eueri  creature 

Sum  tech  to  folwen  afftir  his  nature.  252 

217.    founde]  founden  B. 

230.   mong]  among  H,  R  3.       238.   "marke  thys,"  in  a  later 

hand,  arid  a  line  drawn  in  margin  opposite  the  following  four 

and  a  half  stanzas  in  J. 
239.  is  morf  to  god  H.       242.   ar]  er  H.      245.   the]  ther  H. 

BK.  Il] 

The  Beginning  of  SauVs  Misfortunes 


I  write  nat  this  in  rebuk  off  pouert; 

But  for  suche  onli  as  that  it  disserue: 

God  off  his  myht,  as  men  be  weel  expert. 

May  hem  in  vertu  encresen  and  conserue,  256 

From  al  myscheeff  a  poore  man  preserue, 

Reise  hem  on  heihte  to  dominaciouns 

Thoruh  hih  noblesse  off  ther  condiciouns. 

Be  influence  God  may  his  grace  sheede 
Wher  he  fynt  cause  onli  be  meeknesse, 
A  poore  man  to  reise  hym  vp  in  deede 
Onto  thestat  off  vertuous  noblesse; 
For  out  off  vertu  cometh  al  gentilesse. 
In  poore  and  riche  mak  non  excepcioun, 
But  hem  comende  lik  ther  condicioun. 

A  poore  man  which  that  is  vertuous 

And  dredith  God  in  his  pouerte,  26S 

Ech  thyng  eschewyng  that  is  vicious, 

And  to  his  power  doth  trouthe  &  equite,  — 

I  dar  riht  weel,  what-euer  that  he  be, 

Puttyng  no  rebuk  onto  his  kynreede,  272 

But  calle  hym  gentil  veraili  in  deede.- 

But  kyng  Saul  was  contrarious, 

Disobeisaunt  founde  in  his  werkyng, 

WTian  God  made  hym  to  be  victorious  276 

On  Amalech,  where  Agag  was  kyng, 

Hym  comaundyng*  to  spare  no  maner  thyng, 

Man  nor  woman,  beeste  nor  child  socoure. 

But  that  his  suerd  sholde  al  quyk  thyng  deuoure.  280 

But  Saul  wrouhte  al  in  other  wise, 

Ech  thyng  reseruyng  that  was  fair  to  siht; 

And  off  entent  to  make  a  sacrefise, 

Afftir  his  victorie*  he  shoop  hym  anon  riht,  284 

Fattest  beestis  he  ches,  &  hath  hem  diht 

Toward  the  fir  to  maken  his  offryng. 

And  fro  deth  he  spared  Agag  the  kyng. 

He  was  repreued  afftir  of  Samuel,  288 

To  Godis  biddyng  for  he  was  contraire, 
As  abiect  to  regne  in  Israel, 

I  cast  no  slur 
on  poverty:    I 
blame  those 
only  who  de- 
serve reproof. 

260    God  may  raise 
a  poor  man  to 
nobility,  for 
all  gentility 
comes  from 


and  a  poor 
man  who  is 
upright  and 
fears  God  can 
only  be  called 

But  Saul  was 
when  God  bade 
him  massacre 
the  Amalekitet 
and  destroy 
all  their 

He  even  spared 
the  life  of 
Agag  their 

Reproved  by 
Samuel,  his 
power  of  fore- 
seeing failed. 

257.  do  pr«<rrve  H.       258.   on]  of  H. 

261.  fyndith  R  3,  findeth  P.       262.   to]  om.  H. 

271.  I  dar  riht  weel]  I  dar  say  H,  R  3,  P. 

278.  comaundyng]  comaundid  B,  J.       284.   victoire  B,  J. 

2o8  Saul  and  David  []bk.  il 

and  he  was      That  al  good  hoDC  III  hvm  gan  disespaire; 

tormented  by       ^^.  °     ,  .  *^  ,  Ti  o  • 

an  evU  spirit.    His  gracc,  his  myht  gan  pallen  &  appaire,  292 

His  prophecie  afFtir  hath  hym  failed. 
And  with  a  feend  he  was  also  trauailed. 

Thus  Fortune    Thus  from  hif  wheel  Fortune  cast  hym  doun, 

cast  him  down,    aiii  r  ^  •  •    ^ 

and  God  trans-  Aualed  hym  irom  his  roial  see;  296 

to^ David""'^"  And  God  also  took  awey  the  crown, 

Bothe  from  hym  and  his  posterite, 

And  set  up  Dauid  for  his  humilite. 

Loo,  how  the  Lord  his  doomys  can  deuyde  300 

Tenhaunce  meeknesse  and  tabate  pryde! 

Saul  was  Saul  cudured  in  his  frenesle, 

jealous  of  David    .         .,  i       t  •  i  11  "i 

because  he  slew  A  wikkcd  Spent  SO  sorc  hym  dede  assaile; 
oniy^a  sraff-     Onto  Dauid  euer  he  hadde  envie,  304 

sling,  That  he  was  hardi  tentren  in  bataile,  — 

With  a  stafslynge,  void  off  plate  &  maile, 
Slouh  Golias,  withoute  feer  or  dreed, 
Pulled  out  his  suerd[e]  &  smet  off  his  hed.  308 

and  when         At  thet  rcpairyng  hom  out  off  the  feeld, 
Fa"vid'8  praises.  Whan  Dauid  hadde  slay[e]n  this  Golie, 
Yonge  maidnes  whan  [that]  thei  beheeld 
The  grete  victory,  thei  in  ther  armonye  312 

In  laude  off  Dauid  thus  gan  synge  &  crie: 
"Saul  hath  slayn  a  thousand  thoruh  his  myht, 
Dauid  ten  thousand,  the  lusty  yonge  knyht!" 

Saul  felt  angry  gaul  disdcyned  and  seide  frowardli,  316 

and  conspired    "Thei  grauwtid  han  a  thousand  to  my  name, 

David's  death.    ^^^  ^^  ^^^  ^^^^  ^^^^  ^^  y^^j 

Youe  ten  thousand  to  encrece*  his  fame, 

Which  is  to  me  a  rebeuk  and  a  shame."  320 

Wherupon  this  Saul,  fret  with  ire. 

Off  yonge  Dauid  gan  the  deth  conspire. 

He  knew  in  hi»  Jn  his  herte  he  hadde  a  fantasie 

singing  was       Off  ther  syngyug  whan  that  he  took  heed^,  324 

prophetic.         Dempte  it  was  a  maner  prophecie. 

That  Dauid  sholde  preferrid  be  in  deed^ 

And  to  the  crowne  afftir  hym  succeed*?. 

Thouhte  his  childre,  as  he  gan  dyuyne,  328 

Sholde  be  depryued  off  the  roial  lyne. 

294.  alsoTom.  H. 

317.   hanJhaveH.      319.  to  encrece]  tencrece  B,  H,  J. 

319,  20  are  transposed  in  R  3. 

BK.  Il] 

Saul  and  David 


Thus  day  be  day  Saul  weies  souhte  [p.  93] 

To  sle[en]  Dauid,  pleynli  yifF  he  myhte, 

Al-be-it  so  that  he  no  malice  thouhte,  332 

But  euer  kept  hym  lowli  in  his  sihte. 

Therfore  good  eure  &  grace  on  hym  alihte; 

For  ay  the  Lord  off  his  magnyficence 

Ageyn  tirantis  preserueth  innocence.  336 

And  as  the  Bible  pleynli  doth  us  lere. 

This  Dauid  hadde  in  his  tendre  age 

For  his  noblesse  the  kyngis  doubter  deere, 

Callid  Michol,  ioyned  be  manage.  340 

And  whan  that  Saul  fill  in  any  rage, 

Dauid  anon,  tasswagen  his  woodnesse, 

Touchid  his  harpe  &  brouht  him  in  gladnesse. 

Saul  ful  ofFte  gan  Dauid  to  enchace 

And  werreie  thoruhout  all  his  londis, 

Thoruh  desertis  hym  pursue  &  manace. 

Off  entent  tashet  hym  up  in  bondis 

Or  taslaie  hym,  yilF  he  com  in  his  hondis. 

But  fynali  God  thoruh  his  ordynaunce 

Preserued  his  knyht  from  al  maner  myschaunce. 

Saul  ful  ofFte  was  brouht  to  myscheefF, 

Yit  ay  fro  deth[e]  Dauid  dede  hym  saue; 

And  heeroff  this  was  a  special  preefF, 

Whan  Dauid  kitte  his  garnement  in  the  caue. 

And  mo  toknys  yiff  ye  list  to  haue. 

Another  tyme  Dauid  also  kepte  356 

The  liff  off  Saul,  whan  he  lay  &  slepte. 

The  cas  was  this:   as  thei  lay  hosteieng 

Nat  ferr  assonder,  and  Saul  lay  and  sleeps, 

Al  his  peeple  aboute[n]  hym  slepyng,  360 

And  onpurueied  lik  a  flok  off  sheep*? ; 

Off  which[e]  thyng  Dauid  took  good  keep^, 

Doun  descendid,  and  made  no  delay. 

Cam  to  the  tente  wher  kyng  Saul  lay.  364 

The  spere  off  Saul  stondyng  at  his  bed, 
Dauid  took  it  and  wente  his  way  anon; 
Off  his  comyng  ther  was  no  man  took  heed, 

David  had  no 
envy  of  Saul, 

and  was 
married  to  hit 

■,.4     but  Saul 
"'"*^    constantly 




David  often 
352     spared  his 

and  once 
entered  his 

and  carried 
off  his  spear, 
while  Saul 
and  his  men 

334.  ahhte]  hath  liht  H.  345.   thoruhout]  thoruh  H,  R  3. 

348.  tasslayn  H,  to  haue  slevn  R  3.       354.   garment  H,  P. 

359.  and]  om.  H.       361.   lik]  lik  as  H. 

366.  his  way]  away  H. 

2IO  Saul  and  David  Qbk.  ii 

For  Saul  slepte  and  his  men  echon.  368 

And  whan  that  he  vp  to  the  hill  was  gon, 
Toward  Saul  ageyn  he  cast  his  look, 
Made  a  noise  that  all  his  knyhtes  wook. 

David  then       First  to  Abnor,  prynce  off  his  cheualrie,  372 

woke  them  and   y-v        •  i         •  i        i  t      • 

toidAbner        Dauid  scide  these  woordis  in  sentence: 

"Abnor,"  quod  he,  "thou  hast  doon  gret  folie, 

This  day  shewed  a  gret  necligence, 

To  suffre  off  Saul  the  magnyficence  376 

In  pereil  stonde,  and  non  heed  [to]  take, 

Aboute  his  persone  to  make  his  knyhtis  wake. 

iseen  recWess  of  Xhou  art  to  blame  for  thi  reklesnesse, 

and  deserved     To  leue  the  kyng  stoudc  in  so  gret  zf  dreed^,  380 

death  and  tor-    ,         i  i  o 

ture  for  his       In  slcp  to  haue  mor  sauour  &  suetnesse 

carelessness.  ^j^^^  ^^  j^j^  jj^  ^^^^.^  ^^  ^^j^^^^  j^^^j^^ 

Such  necligence  requereth  for  his  meed<f 

Deth  and  torment,  be  rihtful  iuggement,  384 

Aboute  a  prynce  whan  folk  be  necligent. 

"See,  here  is     And  yiff  thou  list  to  secn  an  euidence, 

nLVbdievr''    How  that  his  lifF  stood  in  iupartie, 

Jou  were'"^^     See  heer  his  spere,  &  yifF  therto  credence,  388 

How  onprouyded  ye  were  on  your  partie,  — 
Saul  nor  thou,  ye  may  it  nat  denye, 
Your  lifF,  your  deth,  your  power,  your  puissaunce 
This  day  God  put  hool  in  my  gouernauwce.  392 

"But  I  have  But  me  taquiten  off  pur  innocence, 
aglfnst°h1mjas  As  eueri  man  sholde  onto  his  kyng, 
God  knows."     ^^j  ^^  declare  in  me  was  non  offence 

Ageyn  his  noblesse  in  will  nor  in  werkyng,  396 

As  God  weel  wot,  that  knoweth  euery  thyng, 
That  I  neuer  be  no  conspiracie 
Wrouhte  nor  compassid  ageyn  his  regalie." 

Thus  David      Loo,  hecr  exaumple  off  parfit  pacience  4°° 

returned  good    j^^^^^  malice  to  shcwc  kynd[e]nesse! 
Wher  Saul  shewed  his  mortal  violence, 
Dauid  aquit  hym  with  suffraunce  &  goodnesse. 
The  tirant  venquysshid  bi  his  prudent  meeknesse.404 
Men  ageyn  trouthe  may  weel  a  werre  gynne. 
But  at  the  eende  the  palme  he  doth  ay  wynne. 

382.   for]ofn.  P,  R  3-  „ 

391.  power  your  puissaunce]  puyssau«ce  your  power  H. 

392.  governeer  H.       394.   onto]  to  H. 

BK.  Il] 

Saul  and  the  Witch  of  Endor 

For  off  this  story  yiff  that  ye  take  heed, 
Saul  is  falle  for  his  frowardnesse 
Into  myscheeff  and  into  sodeyn  dreed; 
For  Philistees,  the  Bible  berth  witnesse, 
With  a  gret  power  gan  ther  wardis  dresse 
Vpon  kyng  Saul  auenged  for  to  be, 
Ther  tentis  pihte  beside  Gelboe. 

Wheroff  kyng  Saul,  astonj-d  in  his  herte, 
Hadde  lost  his  sperit  off  knyhtli  hardynesse, 
And  speciali  whan  he  dede  aduerte 
Prophete  was  non  his  harmys  to  redresse, 
Off  futur  thynges  trouthe  to  expresse 
In  Israel,  which  cast  hym  in  gret  dreed. 
Because  that  tyme  Samuel  was  ded. 

For  Saul  hadde  cast  out  alle  dyuynes 
From  Israel  and  ech  dyuyneresse, 
Nat-withstandyng  [that]  the  Palestynes 
Were  rise  ageyn,  his  power  to  oppresse; 
And  he  ne  knew  no  maner  sorceresse 
Off  whom  he  myhte  any  counseil  take. 
And  he  off  God  that  tyme  was  forsake. 

In  this  wise  he  stood  disconsolat, 

Counseil  off  God  nor  prophete  kneuh  he  non, 

But  lik  a  man  most  infortunat, 

Ongraciousli  he  spedde  hym  foorth  anon, 

And  secreli  this  Saul  is  foorth  gon 

To  a  woman  that  sholde  hym  reede  and  wisse, 

In  Israel  callid  a  phetonysse. 

Which  is  a  name,  as  clerkis  writen  all. 
And  office,  who  that  takith  heede, 
Soulis  off  men  ageyn  to  clepe  &  call  — 
I  meene  such[e]  that  toforn  wer  dede  — 
Which  is  a  thyng  straunge  for  to  reede. 
That  any  woman  sholde,  who  list  to  lere, 
Make  soulis  of  dede  men  appeere. 




and  Saul, 
finally  attacked 
by  the  Phili»- 
tines,  at 
Gel  boa, 

[P-  94] 







became  afraid; 
and  as  he  had 
eiiled  all  the 
propheti  and 
diviners,  and 
Samuel  was 

he  went  to  a 
called  in 
Israel  a 

who  could  call 
the  souls  of 
dead  men  back 
to  earth,  which 
is  a  very 
strange  thing, 


407.  yiff  that  ye  take"]  who  that  takith  H. 

413.  Ther]  The  H. 

423.  that]  om.  H,  J,  P,  H  5,  R  3. 

430.  lik]om.  J. 

433.  that]  which  H. 

434.  Phitonesse  H, 
438.  that]  as  H. 

441.  appeere]  tappeere  H,  to  apper  R  3,  to  appere  P. 

212  Saul  is  told  his  Fate  [^bk.  ii 

and,  as  it  seems  Vnlcouth  &  straungc  is  thcF  opynvoun, 

to  me,  not  .  °  .  ^■'     -f  ' 

according  to      And  to  my  Witt  a  maner  inpossible, 

reason,  that  an   ■» -r  ■•  i 

invisible  thing    IN  at  accordyng,  me  semeth,  to  resoun,  444 

to°b!^iiy^''ey"s.  Not  Hk  a  thyng  which  that  is  credible, 

That  a  soule,  off  nature  inuisible, 

Mihte  appeere  or  shewe  visibly 

Onto  eyen  which  that  be  bodily.  448 

?choiir»\'nd'*'  But  or  that  I  any  ferthere  flitte, 
divine*  List  I  Were  holde  to  presumptuous, 

To  dyuynys  this  mater  I  comwytte 

And  wise  clerkis  that  be  vertuous,  452 

In  ther  wittis  subtil  and  corious 

To  conclude,  as  it  doth  hem  seeme, 

In  this  mater  a  trouthe  for  to  deeme, 

decide  whether  Whethit  it  was  the  soule  off  Samuel,  456 

of  Samuel  or     Ot  Other  spcrit,  that  she  dede  call, 

sph^i^t  wh"toid  Which  that  tolde  the  kyng  ofF  Israel 
Off  the  bataile  that  sholde  afFtir  fall. 
His  auenturis  and  his  myscheuys  all.  460 

And  off  his  deth  he  tolde  also  in  deede. 
And  how  Dauid  sholde  afFtir  hym  succeede, 

Saul,  that  for    Bccause  onli  ofF  his  disobeisauwce, 

his  disobedience    ...  .  i    r       i  •  i 

he  should  die  in  As  it  IS  writc,  and  tor  his  reclesnesse,     •  464 

Ph"istinL  and  On  Amalech  for  he  took  nat  vengaunce. 
by  Davld'^^'^     Thus  the  sperit  bar  to  hym  witnesse. 
Whereoff  Saul  fell  in  gret  heuynesse, 
Knowyng  no  mene  tescape  out  ofF  this  doute,        468 
But  take  his  fortune  as  it  cometh  aboute. 

Tolde  hym  also  his  enmyes  were  so  wroth, 

The  Philistees  beside  Gelboe, 

In  that  bataile  he  and  his  childre  both  472 

Sholde  deie  that  day,  ofF  necessite; 

His  cheualrie  shal  sconfited  be, 

OfF  his  regne  there  is  no  lengere  date. 

For  God  horn  hym  his  kyngdam  will  translate.      476 

After  his  defeat,  And  thus  Saul  retoumed  is  agayn, 

Saul  bade  his         ^.  ~,  .      ,  ,  ..  f. 

squire  run  him  His  meync  afttir  brouht  to  disconhture. 
heart,^   *  "^      And  whan  he  sauh  al  his  peeple  slayn, 

And  how  ther  was  no  mene  to  recure  480 

In  that  dedli  woful  auenture, 

443.   Impossible  H.       44.7.   or]  &  H,  nor  J. 

449.   or]  er  H.       455]   tor  in  this  mater;  I  can  nat  deeme  H. 

BK.  Il] 

The  Death  of  Saul 


He  bad  his  squier  take  his  suerd  as  blyue, 
And  thoruh  the  herte  that  he  sholde  hym  rj'^ue, 

That  his  enmyes,  which  were  oncircumsised,  484 

Sholde  ha[ue]  no  power,  in  story  it  is  founde, 

To  falle  vpon  hym  as  thei  han  deuised, 

To  yeuen  hym  his  laste  fatal  wounde, 

His  hih  noblesse  at  myscheeff  to  confounde.  488 

But  his  squyer,  for  feer  of  God  and  dreed, 

Wold  nat  assente  to  doon  so  foul  a  deed; 

To  slen  his  lord  he  gretli  was  afFerd, 

A  thyng  hatful  in  eueri  manys  siht.  492 

But  Saul  took  the  pomel  off  his  suerd. 

And  in  the  ground  ful  deepe  anon  it  piht; 

And  in  al  hast  possible  that  he  myht, 

Made  the  poynt,  in  his  furious  peyne,  496 

To  perce  his  herte  &  parte  euene  on  tweyne. 

The  Philistees,  anon  as  he  was  ded,  [p.  95] 

Spoiled  hym  off  his  roial  armure, 

Dismembrid  hym  and  smet  off  his  hed, 

And  in  tokne  off  ther  disconfiture 

Took  the  spoiles  with  al  ther  besi  cure 

And  therofF  made,  in  al  ther  beste  entent, 

To  Astaroth*  off  pride  a  gret  present. 

Thus  was  Saul  slay[e]n  in  sentence 

Off  Philistees  vpon  Gelboe, 

Forsake  off  God  for  inobedience, 

Abiect  also  doun  from  his  roial  see:  508 

And  thus  for  lakkyng  off  humylite. 

Off  God  he  was  for  euere  set  a-side. 

Loo,  heer  the  eende  off  surquedie  &  pride! 

so  that  he 
should  not  fall 
into  the  hands 
of  his  foes;  but 
the  squire 

not  kill  him, 
and  Saul  had 
to  fall  on  his 
own  sword, 



and  was  des- 
poiled and 
by  the 

Thus  Saul,  for- 
saken by  God 
for  disobedi- 
ence, was  cast 
down  from  his 
throne  and 

9  Lenvoy^. 

HATH  mynde  on  Saul,  which  to  estat  roiall 
Fro  louh  degre  was  callid  for  meeknesse; 
But  pr^sumpcioun  made  hym  haue  a  fall. 
Off  God  abiect  for  his  frowardnesse, 
Loste  his  crowne,  the  Bible  berth  witnesse. 
And  cause  was,  for  his  disobeisaunce; 
To  Godis  biddyng  he  gaff  non  attendaunce. 


that]  om.  H. 
ofiG  &  of  H. 

495   al]  the  H. 
504.  Astraoth  B,  J. 



Remember  the 
fate  of  Saul, 
who  rose  from 
low  degree  and 
lost  his  crown 
for  disobedi- 

514.  to  have  H. 


Bochas'  Praise  of  Obedience 



God  asks  of  us  God  nat  axeth  no  mor  off  man  att  all 

only  an  honest    „         ,         ,r   ,  ,  .    ,  it., 

heart,  but  he     Cut  nool[ej  hcrtc  withoute  doubilnesse,  520 

who  disobey      FoF  allc  the  glfftcs,  which  in  especiall 

He  gaff  to  man  off  his  hih  goodnesse; 

But  he  chastisith  al  onkynd[e]nesse, 

Such  as  be  rebel  for  to  do  plesaunce,  524 

And  to  his  biddyng  ne  yeue  non  attendaunce. 
Noble  Princes,   Noble  Pryncis,  vertu  most  pryncepall 

II  you  would       --  •'  .  I   •]  1  1 

keep  your         You  to  consetue  m  your  hih  noblesse, 

crowns,  be  just   t  .  .    ,, 

and  obey  God.  Is  to  cnptente  m  yout  memoriall  528 

Feith,  equite,  alle  wrongis  to  redresse, 
To  susteene  trouthe  and  rihtwisnesse, 
And  tofor  God  holdeth  euenli  the  balaunce, 
And  to  his  biddyng  yeueth  hool  your  attendaunce.  532 

Virtue  of  Vir- 
tues is  true 
Without  it  all 
worldly  policy 
were  destroyed, 

rules  without 
wilfulness,  the 
people  should 
obey  their 

brings  welfare, 
joy  and  prosper- 
ity to  all 

^  The  comendacion  of  Bochas  oppon  the  vertu  of 

VERTU  off  vertues,  most  off  excellence, 
Which  that  hath  most  souereyn  suifisauwce, 
Is  the  vertu  off  trewe  obedience. 
Which  set  all  thynge  in  rihtful  gouernauwce: 
For  ne  v^^er  nat  this  prudent  ordenauwce, 
Sumwe  tobeie  and  sum^we  aboue  to  guie, 
Destroied  were  al  v^^orldli  policie. 
Where  that  vertu  and  hih  discreciouw 
Auoided  han  from  hem  al  w^ilfulnesse. 
Be  title  onli  off  domynacioun, 
Trew^li  lyuyng  vpon  rihtv\^isnesse, 
Wrong  and  errours  iustli  to  redresse. 
Off  trouthe  I  may  riht  weel  afferme  &  seie. 
The  peeple  meekli  ther  biddyng  sholde  obeie. 
This  noble  vertu  off  feithful  obeisaunce, 
•  Establisshid  vpon  humylite, 
Which  includith  no  double  variauwce. 
In  all  regeouws  and  in  ech  contre 
Causeth  v^eelfare,  ioie  and  prosperite; 
And  as  vertu,  cheeff  and  souereyne, 
Al  vicious  riot  it  pleynli  doth  restreyne. 

519.   of  man  no  more  H.       This  stanza  is  transposed  with   the 

next  tn  R  J.  526.   vertu]  of  yertu.  H. 

528.   Is  to]  It  is  (Emprent)  H.  531.   holdeth]  hold  P. 

541.   have  H.         546.   sholde]  did  H.         553.   riot]  root  H. 

^  "A  commendacioun,"  etc.,  MS.  J.  leaf  40  a,  otherwise  agreeing 
with  B. 






BK.  II.] 

Bochas'  Praise  of  Obedience 


Obedience  eek,  as  men  may  see, 

Falsnesse  exilith  and  al  rebellioun; 

For  hi  atempraunce,*  riht  and  equite  556 

Stant  the  weelfare  off  eueri  regeoun : 

For  the  meeknesse  and  low  subieccioun 

Off  comountes  halt  up  the  regalies 

Off  lordshepes  &  off  all  monarchies.  560 

And,  no  doubte,  whan  lordshepes  off  entent 

Besi  been  the  souereyn  Lord  to  queeme. 

To  ther  subiectis  do  rihtful  iugement. 

In  conscience  as  riht  and  resoun  deeme,  564 

Than  shal  ther  crowne  and  [ther]  diadeeme 

Vpon  ther  hed  perseuere  &  fresshli  shyne, 

And  make  subiectis  to  her  biddyng  enclyne. 

Thus  obeisauwce  pleynli  at  a  woord, 
In  such  as  han  lordshepe  and  souereynte, 
Doon  off  entent  to  ther  souereyn  Lord, 
Shal  cause  hem  regne  in  long  prosperite, 
And  ther  subiectis  off  humylite, 
For  ther  noble  famous  gouernaunce, 
Ay  to  be  redy  vnder  ther  obeisaunce. 

For  who  that  serueth  the  Lord  off  Lordis  all,  [p. 

And  hath  the  peeple  in  his  subieccioun, 

God  will  keepe  hym  that  he  shal  nat  fall, 

Longe  preserue  his  domynacioun; 

But  ageynward,  whan  wisdam  and  resoun 

Been  ouermaistried  with  sensualite, 

Farweel  the  floures  off  ther  felicite! 

Obedience  bluntith  the  sharpnesse 

Off  cruel  suerdis  in  tirantis  hondis. 

And  meeknesse  appesith  the  felnesse  584 

Off  hasti  vengaunce,  brekith  atoo  the  bondis; 

Eek  pacience  set  quyete  in  londis: 

And  where  these  thre  contune  in  comountes, 

Long  pes  perseuereth  in  kyngdames  &  cites.  588 

Obedience  doth  also  restreyne 

Conspiracies  and  fals  coUusiouns; 

Whan  she  stant  onpartid,  nat  on  tweyne, 

556.  batempraunce  B. 

565.  2nd  ther]  om.  J,  H  5,  P.      567.  enclyne]  declyne  H. 

568.  Thus]  This  H.      569.  han]  have  H. 

576.  peeplis  H.      586.  settith  R  3,  setteth  P. 

588.  in]  om.  H,  R  3,  P. 

it  excludes  de- 
ceit and  re- 

and  when 
princes  are 
zealous  to 
please  God 
and  do  right, 
they  shall 
keep  their 

rgg    and  their 

subjects  will 
obey  them. 


9  6]    The  ruler  who 

seri-es  God 
576    shall  not  fall. 


humility,  and 
patience  in 
princes  bring 
peace  to  their 

and  restrain 


Bochas'  Praise  of  Obedience 

[bk.  II 

Subjects  are 
not  rebellious 
to  princes  who 
honour  God. 

But  Saul  was 
put  down  for 
his  obstinacy. 

As  it  is  incum- 
bent on  kings 
to  rule  benevo- 
lently, so  do 
obedience  and 
reverence  ap- 
pertain to  their 
subjects,  and 

there  is  neither 
obedience  nor 
unity  when 
subjects  pre- 
sume against 
their  princes. 

There  is  no  dreed  off  no  discenciouns: 

For  she  combyneth  the  trewe  opynyouws 

In  peepHs  hertis,  ful  weel  aforn  prouyded, 

Vnder  pryncis  to  stonde  hool  ondeuyded. 

Wher  pryncis  be  meek,  humble  &  debonaire 

Towardis  God  off  hool  afFecciouw, 

Ther  subiectis  be  gladli  nat  contraire 

In  ther  seruise  be  no  rebellious; 

For  ther  is  fouwde  no  deuysioun, 

But  bed  &  membris,  ech  for  his  partie, 

Be  so  gouerned  be  prudent  policie. 

Contrariousli  Saul  was  put  douw, 

Abiect  off  God  for  his  obstynacie, 

Put  from  his  sceptre,  his  crowne,  his  regeouw, 

Off  Israel  loste  al  the  monarchie, 

For  he  list  nat  make  off  his  alie, 

Off  frowardnesse  and  wilful  necligence, 

This  noble  vertu  callid  obedience. 

For  as  it  longith  in  kyngdamys  &  citees, 

Vnder  a  keye  off  on  benyuolence, 

Pryncis,  kynges  to  gouerne  [in]  ther  sees, 

So  apperteneth  deu[e]  reuerence 

To  ther  subiectis  bi  obedience, 

Tobeie  ther  lordis,  as  thei  been  off  degre, 

Be  title  off  riht  in  eueri  comouwte. 

For  obelsauwce,  iff  it  be  discernyd 

With  Argus  eyen,  who  that  taketh  heed. 

As  riht  requereth  is  nat  weel  gouernyd. 

Whan  the  membris  presume  ageyn  the  bed, 

Off  gouernauwce  ther  is  no  parfit  speed; 

From  vnyte  thei  gon  a  froward  weie. 

Whan  subiectis  ther  pryncis  disobeie. 









The  young 
King  Reho- 
boara,  son  of 

[How  kyng  Roboam  for  gevyng  feith  to  yonge 
counsaile  lost  the  beneuolence  of  his  peple  and 
deied  a  fool.]  ^ 

ONTO  lohn  Bochaj  in  ordre  next  ther  cam, 
With  ful  gret  dool  and  lamentacioun, 
The  yonge  kyng  callid  Roboam, 

605.  3r(l  his]  &  his  H.      610.  in]  to  H. 

617.  obeisauMce]  obedience  H  —  discernyd]  descrived  H. 

1  MS.  J.  leaf  40  recto. 


BK,  li] 

The  Life  of  Rehohoam 


Sone  and  next  heir  to  Salamoun, 

Entryng  be  title  off  iust  successioun,  628 

Besouhte  myn  auctour  to  make  ofF  his  folic 

And  off  his  fallyng  a  pitous  tragedie. 

First  whan  he  entred  into  his  regeoun, 

Twelue  tribus  gouernyng  in  deede,  632 

Rewlid  hymsilfF  be  will  and  no  resoun, 

Kepte  his  subiectis  pleynli,  as  I  reede, 

Nat  vnder  loue  but  vnder  froward  dreede; 

OfF  olde  wise,  to  his  gret  disauail,  636 

He  despised  the  doctryn  and  counsail. 

He  demened,  as  it  is  weel  kouth, 

His  sceptre,  his  crowne  and  his  regalie 

Be  such  folk  as  floured  in  her  youth,  640 

Coude  off  custum  ther  wittis  weel  applie 

To  bleende  hym  falsli  with  ther  flat[e]rie, 

Which  is  a  stepmooder  callid  in  substauwce 

To  al  vertu  and  al*  good  gouernaunce.  644 

Alas,  it  is  gret  dool  and  gret  pite. 

That  flat[e]rie  sholde  haue  so  gret  fauour. 

Which  bleendith  princis  that  they  may  nat  see, 

Mistith  the  eyen  off  eueri  gouernour,  648 

That  thei  can  nat  knowe  her  owne  errour, 

Fals  hony  shad  ay  on  ther  sentence. 

A  fool  is  he  that  yeueth  to  hem  credence. 

Thei  may  be  callid  the  deuehs  taboureris,  652 

With  froward  sownys  eris  to  fulfille; 

Or  oflF  Circes  the  pereilous  boteleris. 

Which  galle  and  hony  [togedir]  doun  distille, 

WTios  drynkes  been  bothe  amerous  &  ille,  656 

And,  as  clerkis  weel  deuise  cunne, 

Wers  than  the  drynkes  off  Cirenes  tunne. 

Eris  off  pryncis  ful  weel  thei  can  enoynte     [p.  97] 
With  the  soffte  oile  off  adulacioun,  660 

And  ther  termys  most  subtili  appoynte, 
Ech  thyng  concludyng  with  fals  decepcioun, 
Ay  blandisshyng  with  amerous  poisoun; 

640.  her]  om.  H.      644.  2nd  al]  to  al  B,  H,  R  3,  H  5. 

652.  taboumer«  H,  taberoures  R  3,  tabourers  P. 

654.  butlers  P.      655.  togedir]  om.  J. 

659.  Anoynte  H. 

besought  my 
author  to  t«5l 
the  tragedy 
of  his  faU. 

Even  when  he 
first  came  to 
the  throne  he 
despised  the 
counsel  of 
wise  men 

and  followed 
the  advice  of 
youthful  flat- 

to  whom  only 
fools  give 

for  such  may 
be  called  the 
devil's  tam- 
who  din  evil 
into  men's 

subtle  of 
speech,  and 
always  ending 

21 8  Rehoboam's  Folly  [bk.  ii 

And  fynali,  as  the  poete  seith,  664 

Ther  feith  off  custum  concludith  with  onfeith. 

they  flower  in    Flourving  in  woordis,  thouh  ther  be  no  frut, 

words  without    --^        ,  ,        ^—  i  i  rr  i 

fruit  and  are     UouDie  ott  heftc,  plesauwt  oit  language, 
trathf  °  Off  trewe  menyng  void  and  destitut,  668 

In  mustryng  outward  pretende  a  fair  visage: 
Who  trusteth  hem  fyndeth  *  smal  auauntage, 
Be  apparence  &  glorious  fressh  shewyng 
Pryncis  deceyuyng  &  many  a  worthi  kyng.  672 

as  Rehoboam    Roboam  *  Can  here  ful  weel  witnesse, 

can  well  bear      _^  ,  .  .  r   1 1  •        i 

witness.  T  rom  hym  auoidyng  tolkis  that  were  trewe, 

How  he  was  hyndred  be  flatrie  &  falsnesse 
Be  hem  that  coude  forge  out  tahs  newe;  676 

Whos  couwseil  afftir  sore  dede  hym  rewe. 
And  with  ther  feyned  fals  suggestions 
GretH  abreggid  his  dominaciouw. 

Of  fooiy  youth  He  dempte  hymsilff  off  more  auctorite,  680 

tionheTeheved  Off  foH  youthe  and  off  presumpciouw, 
thTnhisTather,  Than  was  his  fader  in  al  his  *  rialte. 

And  this  pompous  fals  opynyouw 

Cam  into  his  conceit  bi  adulaciouw;  684 

For  flatereris  bar  to  hym  witnesse. 

How  he  excellid  his  fadres  hih  noblesse. 

and  oppressed    He  dede  gret  rigour  and  oppressions 
And  when  they  Vpon  his  peeple,  as  it  was  weel  preued;  688 

relfeTfrpm        And  thei  to  fynde  sum  mytigaciouw 
their  tributes,    j^^  matetis  which  that  han  hem  greued, 
Off  ther  tributis  for  to  be  releued, 
Besouhte  he  wolde  relece  hem  in  ther  neede:         692 
But  al  for  nouht;  he  took  theroff  non  heede. 

he  set  aside      Al  old  coussail  from  hym  he  sette  a-side 
seu^paw""   And  refusid  ther  doctryn  and  ther  lore; 

no  mention  to   ^^^  ^^  ^^j^  cOUSSail  off  folkis  ful  off  pride,  696 

His  poore  liges  he  oppressid  sore. 

And  ten  kynredis  anon,  withoute  more, 

For  tiranwye  and  for  mysgouernausce 

From  hym  withdrouh  ther  trouthe  &  legeauwce.  700 

670.  fyndeth]  fynt  B,  J,  H. 

673.  RoboamJ  Roboan  B,  J  (Roboam  H,  R  3,  H  5,  P). 

682.  al  his]  his  gret  B,  gret  J.        684.  into]  to  H. 

686.  fadres  hih  noblesse]  fadir  in  fairnesse  H.      690.  have  H. 

694.  he]  to  H,  R  3. 

BK.  Il] 

Rehohoam  and  the  Ten  Tribes 


Thus  off  the  kyng  conceyued  the  rigour, 
The  peeple  anon  off  indignacioun 
Stooned  Adoram,  which  was  collectour 
Off  the  tributis  in  al  his  regeoun; 
From  hym  departyng  hi  rebellioun. 
Wheroff  astonyd,  tauenge  his  gret  onriht, 
Into  Iherusalem  took  anon  his  fliht. 

And  whan  thei  were  partid  from  Roboam, 

The  ten  kynredis  be  dyuysioun 

Ches  hem  a  kyng  callid  leroboam. 

And  Roboam,  withynne  his  roial  toun. 

To  been  auengid  on  ther  rebellioun 

And  for  to  doon  on  hem  cruel  iustise, 

An  hundred  thousand  he  made  anon  tarise. 

With  leroboam  he  caste  hym  for  to  meete, 

And  al  attonys  sette  in  iupartie; 

But  Semeias*  the  prophete  bad  hym  lete, 

And  from  the  werre  withdrawen  his  partie. 

And  mor  the  quarel  for  to  iustefie, 

Off  his  peeplis  froward  departyng, 

It  was  Godis  will  doon  for  a  pun[y]shyng. 

Touchyng  the  surplus  off  his  gouemaunce, 
His  roial  beeldyng  off  many  fair  cite. 
His  grete  riche  famous  suffisaunce. 
Off  wyn  and  oile  hauyng  gret  plente. 
And  how  his  empire  encrecid  yeres  thre, 
Eek  how  that  tyme  he  rihtful  was  in  deede, 
In  Josephus  his  story  ye  may  reede. 

Off  his  childre  bom  in  the  riht[e]  lyne, 
Eihtene  wyues,  as  maad  is  mencioun, 
I  fynde  he  hadde,  and  many  concubyne, 
Sonys  and  douhtris  be  procreacioun; 
And  how  his  richesse  and  gret  pocessioun 
That  tyme  encreced,  as  it  is  weel  knowe, 
To  God  a-boue  whil  that  he  bar  hym  lowe. 

But,  as  this  auctour  maketh  rehersaile. 

In  his  encres  and  augmentacioun, 

Meeknesse  off  herte  in  hym  gan  waste  &  faile, 

706.  gret]  h^ne  H.  707.  took  anon]  he  tooke  H. 

708.  departid  H.       714.   to  rise  H. 

717.  Semeias]  Rameus  B,  H,  J,  R  3  H  5. 

737.  Aumentacioun  H.       738.   waste  &]  om.  H. 







So  ten  tribes 
arose,  stoned  a 
tax  collector 
named  Adoram 
and  renounced 

Rehoboam  fled 
to  Jerusalem. 
The  ten  tribes 

raised  an  armf 
of  100,000, 
but  Shemaiah 
advised  him 
to  withdraw. 

For  the  rest, 
his  story  is 
told  in 


He  had 
wives  and 
many  concu- 
bines and  a 
732    of  children. 

njg    but  lost  his 
meekness  of 
heart  and  be- 
came vicious; 

220  The  Chastising  of  Rehoboam  [bk.  ii 

And  pride  entrld  with  fals  presumpcioun, 
Vertu  dispisyng  and  al  relegeouw;  740 

AfFter  whos  vices,  as  seith  the  same  book, 
Wikkid  exauwple  off  hym  the  peeple  took. 
and  the  people.  AfFter  the  mancrcs,  wher  thei  be  good  or  ille,    f p.  08] 

as  always  hap-    -rj  -  ■,       ry  ...  °  'li-^j 

pens,  followed    Vsid  oit  pryncis  m  dyuers  regeouws,  744 

ample.  The  pecple  is  redy  to  vsen  and  fulfille 

Fulli  the  traces  off  ther  condiciouws: 

For  lordis  may  in  ther  subiecciouws. 

So  as  hem  list,  who-so  can  taken  heede,  748 

To  vice  or  vertu  ther  subiectis  leede. 
So  he  was        Thus  Roboam  for  his  transgressiouws, 

chastised  by         _.       _  ,  .      .       .        .        S' 

God,  In  losephus  as  it  is  deuised. 

And  for  his  froward  fals  opynyouns,  752 

Onli  for  he  al  vertu  hath  despised, 

Off  God  he  was  rihtfully  chastised: 

In  Jerusalem  his  cheeff  roial  toun 

Off  his  enmyes  besegid  envirouw.  756 

besieged  in  his  The  kyng  off  Egipt  a  sege  aboute  hym  laide 

capital  by  the     ._,.   ,     "^     °  11  1 

king  of  Egypt,  With  SO  gtet  peeple,  that  socowr  was  ther  non, 
Al-be-it  so  that  Roboam  abraide 
And  preied  God  delyuere  hym  from  his  fon,  760 

Tauoide  off  merci  his  enmies  euerichon. 
But  God  list  nat  to  granten  his  praiere, 
But  hym  chastised,  lik  as  ye  shal  heere. 
and  finally        First  his  cite  and  his  noble  toun  764 

him  together     Delyuered  was,  he  knew  no  bet  socour, 

with  all  the         xt     j  r  j   r   i  •    • 

treasure  of  the  Vudcr  a  teyned  tals  composiciouw; 
temple.  Yqx  at  ther  entryng,  void  off  al  fauour, 

Kepyng  no  couenant,  took  al  the  tresour,  768 

Withynwe  the  temple  hauyng  no  pite. 
But  ladde  it  hom  to  Egipt  ther  contre. 
Rehoboam  was  And  to  teherse,  it  is  a  gret[e]  dool, 
fool,  and  I'll     How  Roboam,  as  losephus  doth  declare,  772 

dL  ilThiT  ^"    Was  inli  proud  and  therwithal  a  fool, 
folly.  ^j^j  qIP  ^I  wisdam  destitut  and  bare, 

Onmerciable  his  peeple  for  to  spare, 
Hatyng  good  counsail,  and  so  in  his  folie  776 

Regnyng  a  fool;  and  so  I  lete  hym  deie. 

750.  R  begins  again  here.       758.   With]  And  R. 

761.  Tauoide]  Avoide  R. 

766.  fals]  om.  R.       770.   it]  hym  R  —  ther]  that  R. 

771.  a  grete]  to  gret  a  H,  R  3,  so  gret  a  H  5. 



An  Envoy  on  foolish  People 



PHILISOPHRES  concluden  and  deuise 
In  ther  bookis  off  old*  experience, 
That  counseiIot^r[e]s  sad,  expert  &  wise, 
Trewe  off  ther  woord,  stable  off  ther  sentence, 
Hasti  nor  rakel  for  no  violence, 
Keepe  &  preserue,  the  trouthe  I  dar  attame, 
Noblesse  off  pryncis  fro  myscheeff  &  diffame. 

Hasty*  youthe  and  rancour  in  contrari  wise, 
Which  han  to  will[e]  al  ther  aduertence. 
Except  hemsilff  all  othir  men  despise 
Thoruh  ther  onbridled  furious  insolence, 
Nothyng  aqueyntid  with  wisdam  nor  prudence, 
Brynge  ageynward,  wherofF  thei  be  to  blame, 
Noblesse  of  princis*  in  myschefF  &  difFame. 

Kyng  Roboam,  ageyn  riht  and  iustise, 

To  yonge  foolis  gaff  feith  &  most  credence, 

Crueli  his  subiectis  to  chastise; 

Which  put  his  peeple  from  his  benyuolence, 

Drouh*  ten  kynredis  from  his  obedience, 

Which  was  to  hym,  be  record,  ful  gret  shame, 

Puttyng  his  noblesse  in  myschefF  &  difFame. 

Noble  Prjmcis,  doth  wisli  aduertise, 
In  preseruyng*  ofF  your  magnyficence, 
OfF  olde  expert  nat  blent  with  couetise 
Taketh  your  counseil  and  doth  hem  reuerence, 
Eyed  as  Argus  in  ther  hih  prouidence, 
Which  conserue  be  report  ofF  good  name 
Noblesse  ofF  pryncis  from  myscheefF  &  difFame. 

Wise  counsellors 
preserve  princes 
from  mischief. 



but  hasty 
youth  and  ran- 
cour bring  them 
to  destruction. 


yQ2  Kjd8  Reho- 
boam,  advised 
by  young  fools, 
treated  his 
subjects  badly 
and  drove 
them  to  re- 


Noble  Princes, 
take  your 
800  counsel  of 

old  and  expert 
advisers,  who 
are  not  blinded 
by  covetout- 


[A  Chapitle/  descryuyng  how  prynces  beyng  hedis  of 
ther  comountees  sholde  haue  noble  cheualrie  true 
luges  &€*  ther  commounte  to  goueme  &c*.]^       v\'hat  is  more 

WHAT  ertheli  thyng  is  mor  deceyuable,  thTpomp^nd 

Than  ofF  pryncis  the  pompe  &  veynglorie,*      pr^c^?"''  ^ 

779.  old]  good  B.    782.  nor]  ne  R.    785.  Hasty]  Haste  B,  J,  R  3. 

786.  have  H.     787.  all]  &  H.     789.  nor]  &  H.     790    Br>nge]  benyngne  H. 

791.   Noblesse  of  princis]  Piitt>-ng  his  noblesse  B,  P,  J,  H  5, 

Putt>Tig  ther  noblesse  H,  Puttvng  her  noblesse  R  3. 
796.   Drouh]  Thoruh  B,  through  P,  Thrugh  R  3,  H  5. 
800.   preseruyiig]  perseuer>'ng  B.       801.   expert]  expertis  R. 
802.  Take  P.      803.   as]  of  H  —  hih]  om.  H,  R  3. 
807,  9,  10.  veyngloire,  victoire,  memoire  B. 

^  MS.  J.  leaf  41  recto. 

222  A  Chapter  on  good  Government  [j&k..  ii 

Suddenly  they  Which  wccne  [to]  stonde  in  ther  estatis  stable,       808 

disappear,  their    \         ■>      •     i  11111  •  • 

^me  clouded     As  thci  the  world  hadde  conquered  be  victorie  — 

shadow  of  ob-   And  sodenli  be  put  out  off  memorie, 

Ther  fame  cloudid,  alias,  and  ther  noblesse 

With  a  dirk  shadwe  off  foryetilnesse!  812 

^ould'be  the    WherofF  kom[e]th  the  famous  cleer  shynyng 
glory  of  era-     Off  empcroures  in  ther  consistories  ?  — 
not  for  scholars  Or  whcrofF  komth  ther  laude  in  reportyng, 
histoHes?^    ^"  SaufF  that  clerkis  han  wreten  ther  histories  ?  816 

Or  where  were  now  conquestis  transitories, 
Or  ther  tryumphes  —  wher  sholde  men  hem  fynde, 
Ne  had*  writeris  ther  prowesse  put  in  mynde? 

of^'the^NiJe'"*  Rekne  up  all,  and  first  the  worthy  nyne,  820 

Worthies  rested  In  hih  noblcsse  which  hadde  neuer  peeris: 

on  the  labour      r^^-t  -i  •  i-i        i         1*11        1 

of  the  people,     i  her  marcial  actis,  which  cieerli  dede  shyne, 
Ther  fame  vpborn  aboue  the*  nyne  speeris 
With  loude  sownys  ofF  Famys  clariouweris,  824 

Ther  glorious  palmes,  yifFthei  be  weel  peised,* 
Be  low  labour  off  comouws  was  first  reised. 

As  a  statue      Mak  a  Hknesse  off  thes  gret  ymages  [p.  99] 

without  feet      CotiousH  corue  out  be  entaile,  —  828 

prince^may°      Hed,  atmys,  bodi,  and  ther  fressh  visages, 
ScTs""'^"*  Withoute  feet  or  leggis  may  nat  vaile 

To  stonde  vpriht;  for  needis  thei  mut  faile. 

And  semblabli  subiectis  in  comouwtees  832 

Reise  up  the  noblesse  off  pryncis  in  ther  sees. 

The  head  is  set  As  hed  and  membres  in  ymages  been  o  ston, 

highest,  as  we     ^~       ,  ,       ,  i  i     i 

know,  Uuther  o  stok,  be  cumpas  ondeuyded. 

And  be  proporciou^i  ther  feturis  euerichon  836 

Set  in  trewe  ordre,  as  Nature  hath  prouided. 

So  that  all  errours  thoruh  crafft  be  circumcided: 

The  hed  set  hiest  be  custom,  as  men  knowe, 

The  bodi  amyd,  the  feet  benethe  lowe.  840 

808.  to]  om.  J,  H  5,  t)ei  R  3  —  ay  in  '^er  statis  R. 

812.  forgetfulnesse  R. 

819.  Ne  had]  Nadde  B. 

823.  the]  all  the  B,  J. 

825.  peised]  preised  B. 

826.  vpreisid  H. 

827.  thes]  the  H.       830.   avale  R. 

834.  o]ofR,H. 

835.  o]ofR,  H,  R3,P. 

838.   thoruh]  hi  R,  H,  by  R  3  —  clrcumcided]  circumcised  R, 

circuwiscisede  R  3. 
840.  amyd]  in  myddis  R. 



A  Chapter  on  good  Government 

Mihti  pryncis  for  ther  hih  renoun, 

As  most  worthi  shal  ocupie  the  hed, 

With  wit,  memorie*  and  eyen  off  resoun 

To  keepe  ther  membris  fro  myscheeflF  &  dreed, 

Lik  ther  degrees  take  ofF  hem  good  heed. 

With  cleer[e]  forsiht  off  a  prudent  thouht 

Ther  feet  preserue  that  thei  erre  nouht. 

Ther  mut  been  handis  &  armys  off  difFence, 

Which  shal  this  ymage  manli  keepe  &  guie 

From  alle  assautis  off  foreyn  violence, 

Which  shal  be  named  noblesse  off  cheualrie  — 

Ther  trewe  office  iustli  to  magnefie, 

Sustene  the  chirch  &  make  hemsiluen  strong 

To  see  that  widwes  nor  maidnes  ha[ue]  no  wrong. 

Prudent  iuges,  as  it  is  skele  and  riht, 

To  punshe  wrong  and  surfetis  to  redresse, 

In  this  ymage  shal  ocupie  the  siht: 

For  loue  or  hate,  bi  doom  off  rihtwisnesse, 

For  freend  or  fo  his  iugementis  dresse. 

So  egali  the  lawes  to  susteene. 

In  ther  werkis  that  noon  errour  be  scene. 

Mid  this  ymage  there  is  a  bodi  set. 

An  agregat  off  peeplis  and  degrees. 

Be  parfit  pes  and  vnyte  I-knet 

Bi  thestatis  that  goueme  comountees,  — 

As  meires,  prouostes  &  burgeis  in  citees, 

Marchauntis  also,  which  seeke  sundri  londis. 

With  othir  crafftis  which  lyuen  bi  ther  hondis. 

And  as  a  bodi  which  that  stant  in  helthe 
Feelith  no  greeff  off  no  froward  humours, 
So  eueri  comoun  contynueth  in  gret  welthe. 
Which  is  demened  with  prudent  gouemours, 
That  can  appese  debatis  and  errours, 
The  peeple  keepe  from  al  contrauersie, 
Causyng  the[r]  weelfare  tencrece  &  multeplie. 


and  by  its 
foresight  must 
keep  the  other 
members  from 


g .g  There  must  also 
be  hands  and 
arms  of  defence. 


prudent  judges, 
who  are  as 
856  eyes. 



a  torso  made 
of  officials, 
burgesses  and 


and  as  a  body 
in  health 
knows  no  dis- 
comfort, to  is  a 
country  rich 
p_     when  governed 
°72  by  prudent 
men  who  keep 
the  people  in 

842.  hed] stede  H. 

843.  memoire  B.       844.   ther]  the  R. 
848.  arrays  &  hondis  R,  H. 

853.  hemsiluen]  hem  ful  R. 

854.  nor]  &  R.       862.   In  myddis  R. 

864.  I-knet]  knett  R.  * 

866.  Mayores  P,  mayr\'S  H  5,  Mairis  H  —  prouestes  R. 

872.  demened]  demyd  R.      874.   to  kepe  R  —  countrouersye 

all  men  and 
reprove  vices; 

224  A  Chapter  on  good  Government  [bk.  ii 

Iisl'hTvl^  ™"stThis  bodi  must  haue  a  soule  off  lifF  876 

6oui  of  con-      To  quyke  the  membris  with  gostli  mociouws, 
'  Which  shal  be  maad  off  folk  contemplatifF, 
The  cherche  comwitted  to  ther  pocessiouns, 
Which  bi  ther  hooli  conuersaciouns  880 

And  good  exau7nple[s]  sholde  as  sterns  shyne, 
Be  grace  and  vertu  the  peeple  [tjenlumyne. 

to  whose  care     Vpon  the  Hht  ofF  thet  condiciouns, 

txlC  CxlurCn  IS 

committed,  and  Off  this  bodi  dependith  the  weelfare:  884 

who  should  tell    -r-        •         i  i  ^  ^•         • 

the  truth  to      T  or  in  thcr  techyng  and  predicaciouws 

Thei  sholde  trouthe  to  hih  &  low  declare, 

And  in  ther  office  for  no  dreed  ne  spare 

Vices  correcte,  lich  as  thei  ar  holde,  888 

Sithe  thei  been  heerdis  off  Cristes  folde. 

and  there  must  Folwyng  vpon,  off  entent  ful  cleene, 

be  labourers  to^,-''?'^,  ,         ii-i 

hold  up  and      Laboreris,  as  ye  han  herd  deuised, 

sustain  the  r'l      i      i   •      i        t   i  i 

body  as  feet      bhal  this  Dodi  Dem  up  and  susteene  89a 

hSnesUabour    As  fcet  and  leggis,  which  may  nat  be  despised; 
ju^ifi°ed^  For  trewe  labour  is  iustli  auctorised, 

And  ner  the  plouh  vpholden  be  trauaile, 

Off  kynges,  pryncis  farweel  al  gouernaile.  896 

Thus,  if  Thus  first  yiff  pryncis  gouerned  been  be  riht, 

prmces,  knights,  .       ,   ,         i     i       i         rr  i  i  i      r       i 

judges,  bur-      And  knyhthod  suttre  the  peeple  to  hatuej  no  wrong, 

fnd^abourers    And  trouthe  in  iuges  shewe  out  his  cleer  liht, 

then  ttm&y''   And  feith  in  cites  with  loue  be  drawe  a-long,  900 

this"image^\     -^"^  hooH  cherche  in  vertu  be  maad  strong, 

well  wrought,    ^nd  in  his  labour  the  plouh  ne  feyne  nouht,  — 

Thanwe  be  proporciouw  this  ymage  is  weel  wrouht. 

With  King       This  mateer  hool  for  texemplefie,  904 

an  example,      Kyug  Roboam  fot  fals*  oppressioun 

princes  must         Air        i*  'irir  i* 

remember  that  And  lor  his  wiitui  troward  tirannye 
peotielor^the    Loste  a  gtet  patti  off  his  regeoun; 
ruiers?nlt  °lht  Wherfore,  let  pryncis  considren  off  resoun,  908 

oppressed.         QqJ  sette  the  peeple  for  lordis  auauwtage, 
And  nat  to  been  oppressid  with  seruage. 

877.  quykene  R. 

879.  commyttith  H. 

881.  sholde]  holde  R.       888.  ar]  er  H. 

889.  owne  folde  R. 

896.  princis  kyngis  R,  R  3  —  al]  the  H. 

898.  to]  om.  R. 

905.  fals]  a   fals  B,  H,  J,   R  3,   H  5,  P  —  oppressioun]  pr^- 
sumpciown  H. 

BK.  IlJ 

The  Story  of  Mucins  Sccevola 


Vpon  sumwe  pryncis  Bochas  doth  compleyne,  [p.  lOo]  Bocha$  aisap- 

--,        I  I  I  proves  oi 

Duch  as  haue  a  custum  and  maneer 
Ageyn  ther  subiectis  ongoodli  to  disdeyne, 
And  off  pride  to  shewe  hem  froward  cheer; 
Counseileth  hem  to  remembre  &  ler, 
As  this  chapitle  doth  fynali  deuise, 
First  out  off  labour  al  lordshepe  dede  arise. 

912  princes  who  are 
disdainful  to 
their  subjects, 
and  counsels 
them  to  remem- 
ber that  all 
lordship  first 
arose  out  of 


[How  Mucyus  Sceuola  slouh  an  Innocent  in  stede  of 
Kyng  Porcenna  that  leide  siege  to  Rome.]  ^ 

WHAN  kyng  Porcenna  with  his  cheualrie 
Ageyn  Romeyns  a  werre  first  began, 
The  toun  besegyng  vpon  ech  partie 
With  gret  puissaunce  brouht  out  off  Tuskan, 
In  the  cite  ther  was  a  knyhtli  man, 
Mucius  Sceuola,  which  caste  in  ther  distresse 
To  breke  the  siege  thoruh  his  hih  prowesse.  924 

Leet  arme  hymsilfF[e]  cleene  in  plate  &  maile, 

For  comoun  profit,  tauauncen  his  corage 

Kyng  Porcenna  proudli  to  assaile; 

A  tyme  prouyded  to  his  auauntage,  928 

Thoruh  the  siege  to  maken  his  passage, 

And  fynali  at  his  in-comyng 

luparte  his  persone  for  to  sle  the  kyng. 

But  Ilk  as  tellith  Titus  Lyuyus, 

Wher  Porcenna  sat  in  his  roial  see, 

This  senatour,  this  manli  Mucius, 

Sauh  a  prynce  off  gret  auctorite. 

The  kyng  rasemblyng,  clad  [both]  in  o  lyuere,        936 

Atween  discernyng  no  maner  variaunce; 

Slouh  that  prynce  off  veray  ignoraunce. 

But  whan  he  knew[e]  that  he  dede  faile 

To  slen  Porcenna,  enmy  to  the  toun. 

And  sauh  he  hadde  lost  al  his  trauaile, 

He  made  a  pitous  lamentacioun. 

Because  he  dede  execucioun 

Off  ignoraunce,  ageyn  his  owne  entent,  944 

To  spare  a  tirant  and  slen  an  innocent. 

916.  As]  And  H,  R. 

920.  toun]  ton  H.      931.   luparte]  lupardie  R. 
933.  his]om.  R.      935.   Sauh]  Sith  R.      941.  sauh]sithR. 
^  MS.  J.  leaf  41  verso. 

When  the 
Etruscans  once 
besieged  Rome, 
Mucius  Scae- 
920  vola  determined 
to  pass  through 
the  hostile 

lines  and  slay 
King  Porsenna. 

Q'12  Unfortunately 
he  mistook 
another  prince 
for  the  king, 
and  killed  him. 

But  when  he 
saw  his  blunder, 
940  he  cried  out  in 
grief  at  having 
slain  an  inno- 
cent man 

226  Mucins  Scavola,  Lucrece  [^bk.  ii 

and  soing^up     For  which  hc  was  with  hymsilfF  ful  wroth, 
held  his 'hand    That  hc  was  fouwdc  SO  necligcnt  in  deede, 

in  the  flames        ai'ii'i  i  r*i  i 

until  it  was      And  With  his  hand  onto  a  hr  he  goth,  948 

consume  .         Made  it  btenne  briht  as  any  gleede, 

Bothe  nerfF  &  bon  and  his  flessh  to  sheede, 

His  hand  consumyng  on  pecis  heer  &  yonder, 

And  from  his  arm  made  it  parte  assonder.  952 

For  this  deed    And  as  the  story  declareth  onto  vs. 

the  Romans         _.,   .  ,  ■'      ,  , 

ever  afterward    1  his  manli  man,  this  noDle  senatour, 

Scxvoia.  Afor  tyme  was  calUd  Mucius, 

Which  for  the  comoun  dede  many  gret  labour;       956 
And  for  the  vnkouth  hasti  fell  rigour 
Doon  [vn]to  hymsilfF,  the  Romeyns  all, 
Sceuola  thei  dede  hym  afFtir  call. 

which  is  to       As  moche  to  seyne  be  language  off  that  lond  —     960 

without  a  hand.Who  take  atiht  the  exposicioun  — 

As  a  man  which  is  withoute  an  bond. 

And  afftir  hym  bi  successioun 

Al  his  offspryng,  that  wer  bor  in  the  touw,  964 

In  remembraunce  for  tencrece  his  fame. 

Off  Sceuola  bar  afftir  hym  the  name. 

Such  examples   Bc  this  exauwplc  and  many  a-nother  mo, 

shew  what  x/tt'  i-        i  i 

perils  and  suf-    YiiT  men  list  her  corages  to  awake,  968 

haTe^end^ured    Thei  sholde  Seen  what  pereil  &  what  wo 

t°a"nta°gTaT  "^' For  comouw  profit  men  haue*  vndirtake, 

BrntuT^'chased    ^^  whilom  Btutus  fot  Lucrecis  sake 

Tarquin^and  all  Chaced  Tarquyn  for  his  transgressioun  972 

Rome.  And  kynges  alle  out  off  Rome  toun. 

Lucrece's  story  Touchyng  Lucrece,  exauwple  off  wifli  trouthe, 

is  related  by-jy  ry-.  i-rii'jj 

Chaucer,  who    How  yonge  1  atquyn  hir  taisii  dede  oppresse, 

And  afftir  that,  which  was  to  gret  a  routhe,  976 

How  she  hirsilff[e]  slouh  for  heuynesse. 

It  nedith  nat  rehersyn  the  processe, 

Sithe  that  Chaucer,  cheeff  poete  off  Bretayne, 

Wrot  off  hir  liff  a  legende  souerayne.  980 

told  why  the     Rehersyng  ther  amongfesl  other  thynges 

Romans  exiled     ^    ,        ,  -^     »  11  .  "^     *= 

their  kings  and  Lch  circumstauwcc  and  ech  occasiouw: 
se'rted  Dtdo,  '"  Whi  Romeyns  exilid  first  ther  kynges, 

948.  And]  An  R.      950.   and]  om.  R.      957.   hasti]  om.  R. 

958.  vnto]toH,  J,  R  3,H  5,  P.      959.   aftirdid  hym  R. 

960.  As  meche  to  seye  R.       968.   Corag<r  H. 

970.  haue]  han  B.      979.   Sithe]  Which  R. 

BK.  Il] 

The  Story  of  Lucrece 


Neuer  to  regnen  afftir  in  ther  toun,  984 

As  olde  cronycles  make  mencioun, 
Remembryng  also  thunkyndli  gret  outrage 
Bi  Eneas*  doon  to  Dido  off  Cartage. 

Eek  othir  stories  which  he  wrot  his  lyue 
Ful  notabli  with  eueri  circumstaunce, 
And  ther  fatis  dede  pitousli  descryue, 
Lik  as  thei  fill  put  hem  in  remembraunce, 
Wherfore  yifF  I  sholde  my  penne  auaunce,  992 

Afftir  his  makyng  to  putte  hem  in  memorie,* 
Men  wolde  deeme  it  presumpciouw  &  veynglorie. 

as  well  as  other 
tales,  notably 
written.     It 
were  presump- 
tion for  me  to 
tell  them  again, 

For  as  a  sterre  in  presence  off  the  sunne 
Lesith  his  fresshnesse  and  his  cleer[e]  liht, 
So  my  reudnesse  vnder  skies  dunne 
Dareth  ful  lowe  and  hath  lost  his  siht, 
To  be  compared  ageyn  the  bemys  briht 
Off  this  poete;  wherfore  it  were  but  veyn 
Thyng  seid  be  hym  to  write  it  newe  ageyn. 


lOl]  f°''  ^'  ^  ^'*'' 
pales  before 
996  the  sun,  so 

my  unpolished 
language  can 
stand  no  com- 
parison to  the 
bright  beams  of 
this  poet. 

[How  Lucrece/  oppressid  bi  Tarquin  slouh  hirsilf.]  ^ 

BUT  at  Lucrece  stynte  I  will  a  while, 
It  were  pite  hir  story  for  to  hide, 
Or  slouthe  the  penne  of  my  reud[e]  stile, 
But  for  hir  sake  alle  materis  set  a-side. 
Also  my  lord  bad  I  sholde  abide, 
By  good  auys  at  leiser  to  translate 
The  doolful  processe  off  hir  pitous  fate. 

Folwyng  the  tracis  off  CoUucyus, 

Which  wrot  off  hir  a  declamaciouw 

Most  lamentable,  most  doolful,  most  pitous, 

Wher  he  descryueth  the  dolerous  tresoun 

Off  hir  constreyned  fals  oppressioun, 

Wrouht  &  compassid  bi  vnwar  violence, 

The  liht  ontroublid  off  hir  cleer  conscience. 

Yet,  after  all,  I 
will  pause  at 
Lucrece.     It 
would  be  a 
1004  pity  not  to  tell 
her  story,  and, 
besides,  my 
lord  bade  me 
do  it. 


So,  following 
CoUucius,  I'll 
describe  how 
she  was  taken 
unawares  and 

986.    Remembre  R.      987.   Eneas]  encres  B,  encrece  J, 

Encrece  H,  Encres  H  5,  encros  R  3,  Eneas  R,  Aenee  P. 
988.   his]  in  his  H.      991.   fill]  ful  R.      992.  Wheroff  R. 
993,  94.   memoire,  veyngloire  B. 

999.   compared]  compacid  R.       looi.   be  hym]  beforn  R. 
1003.  for]  om.  H. 
1007.   at]  bi  H.       1008.   hir]  his  R. 

1  MS.  J.  leaf  42  recto. 

228  The  Story  of  Lucrece  [bk.  ii 

Her  father  was  Hir  fadcF  whilom  calHd  Spurius,  1016 

husband  CoUa-  Hit  worthi  husbondc  named  Collatyn, 

Tarqub  was     WHIch  bi  thc  luxuFC  &  trcsoun  odious 

deat""'*  °^  ^^'  And  vicious  outrage  of  Sextus,  proud  Tarqwin, 

Oppressid  was  &  brouht  onto  hir  fyn.  1020 

Whos  dedii  sorwe  in  Inglissh  for  to  make. 
Off  pitous  routhe  my  penne  I  feele  quake. 

Tarquin  came    This  Said  Tatquyn,  this  euel  auised  knyht, 
thief  in  the       This  sclauwdrid  man,  most  hatful  for  his  deede,  1024 
naied'lword  in  Cam  Hch  a  thccfF,  alas,  vpon  a  nyht 
his  hand,         With  naked  suerd,  whan  no  man  took  non  heede, 
Vpon  Lucrece,  she  quakyng  in  hir  dreede, 
Liggyng  abedde  ferr  from  hir  folkes  all,  1028 

And  knew  no  refuge  for  helpe  for  to  call. 

and  said  that    He  manacyng  in  his  froward  entent, 
not  yield  to      Ou  hit  beholdyug  with  a  furious  cheer, 
fin'd'means°'to    That  with  his  suerd[e],  but  she  wolde  assent,         1033 
S°namYfor-  Hire  and  a  boy  he  wolde  prente  ifeer, 
*^'«'^-  Such  on  as  was  most  ougli  off  maner. 

Most  onlikli  off  persone  and  off  fame: 
Thus  he  hir  thratte  for  to  sclauwdre  hir  name.      1036 

So  there  was     But  his  entent[e]  whan  she  dede  feele, 
N°xt^morainV  And  sauh  no  mene  ageyn  hir  woful  chauwce, 
hu!ba°nd  S      The  morwen  afftir  she  list  nothyng  concele, 
h?m' to^'d ""°*  Tolde  hir  husbonde  hooli  the  gouernauwce,  1040 

vengeance,  said  Hym  requeryng  for  to  do  vengaunce 
Vpon  this  crym,  saide  lik  a  trewe  wiff. 
She  wolde  hir  herte  percen  with  a  knyff. 

In  this  mater  this  was  hir  fantasie:  1044 

that  she  would  Bet  was  to  deie  than  to  lyue  in  shame, 
Hfe?  il^hT^"     And  lasse  wikke,  to  putte  in  iupartie 
lesser  evil.        j^j^.  mottal  bodi  than  hir  good[e]  fame. 

Whan  honour  deieth,  farweel  a  manys  name!        1048 

Bet  it  were  out  off  this  liff  disseuere. 

Than  sclaundrous  fame  to  slen  a  man  for  euere. 

1017.  Cellatyne  R. 

1018.  luxurie  R,  P,  luxury  H,  R  3. 
1033.  prente]  present  R,  R  3. 

1039.  morwenj  morowe  R,  morow  R  3,  P,  morn  H,  J,  morwyn 

1042.  this]  his  H. 

1045.  Bettir  R.       1046.   wikke]  wikkid  was  R. 

1049.  Bettir  R. 

BK.  Il] 

Tbf  Story  of  Lucrece 


But  to  that  purpos  hir  husbonde  seide  nay, 
Hir  fader  also  was  therto  contrarie,* 
Makyng  a  promys,  withoute  mor  delay, 
To  do  vengauwce  how  thei  wil  nat  tarie. 
To  hir  declaryng  with  resouns  debonarie, 
Vnder  these  woordis  trouthe  &  riht  conserued. 
To  slen  hirsilfF  she  hath  nothyng  disserued : 

[]"  My  dere  Lucrece,  tempeste  the  nat  at  al, 
We  knowe  thy  menyng  and  thy  clene  entent, 
Thy  vertu  prevyd  in  especial, 
Which  yevith  to  vs  a  ful  pleyn  argument, 
Vn-to  thavoutour  thow  gaff  nevir*  assent. 
And  for  a  more  singuleer  ev^^dence, 
Cryest  eu^rre  to  punysshe  his  greet  offence. 

Lyst  nat  cese,  but  eu^re  theron  abydest. 
And  al  counfort  doost  fro  thy-sylff  refuse; 
Thyng  that  was  secre,  in  covert  thow  nat  hydest 
But  rygerously  thavoutour  doost  accuse, 
Wheer  expert  vertu  thy  renoun  doth*  excuse. 
Thy  wyffly  trouthe  can  hern  also  witnesse 
By  deer  repoort  to  vs  of  thy  clennesse. 

For  in  the  eyen  of  folkys  ferre  and  neer. 

The  glorye  and  honour  of  wyffly  chastite 

Hath  to  this  day  with  bryghte  beemys  cleer 

In  thy  persone  enlvmyned  this  cyte. 

For  bothe  in  opyn  and  also  in  secre 

The  fame  hath  flouryd  of  thy  chaast[e]  name, 

Fre  fro  thatwytyng  of  ony  spot  of  blame. 

We  can  our-sylff  recordyn  and  expresse. 

How  thy  delyght  and  thyn  hertly  plesaunce 

Was  to  worshepe  wyffly  sobimesse. 

And  to  werreye  al  chaunge  and  varyaunce, 

Lyk  a  lantifrne  set  vp  of  constauwce. 

Or  lyk  a  merour,  in  eu<fry  mannys  syght, 

Off  good  exaumple  to  yive  al  othir  lyght. 

But  CoUatine 
and  her  father 
._..  said  no,  prom- 
'^     ising  to  do 
vengeance  at 


"My  dear 
Lucrece,  do  not 
be  troubled,  we 
know  your 
1060  virtue. 


"You  cry  out 
on  this  offence 
without  com- 
fort, you  conceal 
nothing  from 
us,  you  have 
1068  always  been  a 
model  of  wifely 

propriety,  we 
^^72  know  ourselves 
that  you  are  a 


lantern,  a 
mirror  of  con- 

1080  "*°'=>- 


1052,54,  55.   contraire,  taire,  debonaire  B. 

1055.   resoun  H.       1056.   these]  ther  H. 

1058.    The  following  six  stanzas  are  omitted  in  B,  H,  J,  H  5,  P. 

The  text  is  supplied  from  Harley  ij66,fol.  102  recto. 
1058.   the]  om.  R. 

1062.   nevir]  nevir  thyn  Harley  1766. 
1069.   doth]  doost  Harley  1766. 

1077.  hath]  om.    R. 

1078.  thatwytyng]  the  awaytyng    R. 


"Don't  you 
remember  how 
Tarquin  and  I 
found  you  not 
long  ago  vir-_ 
tuously  occupied 
amidst  your 

making  them 
embroider  in 
soft  wools, 
without  thought 
of  evil? 

The  Story  of  Lucrece 

[bk.  II 

"You  were 
trapped  like  a 
fowl  in  a  snare, 
and  you  think 
your  good  name 
is  lost. 

"But  this  is 

"We  will  be 
avenged  on 
your  wrong. 

My  trewe  Lucrece,  hastow  nat  in  mynde, 
Nat  yoore  agoon,  in  verray  sekirnesse, 
How  thavoutour  and  I  the  did[e]  fynde 
Amyd  thy  women  in  vertuous  besynesse 
Occupyed,  —  a  tokne  of  stedfastnesse, 
Therby  concludyng  of  trouthe  and  of  resouw, 
Modir  of  vertu  is  occupacyouw. 

I  fond  the  thanne,  as  I  haue  do  ful  ofFte, 
Among  thy  maydenys  besily  sittyng, 
To  make  hem  werke  vpon  wollys  sofFte, 
In  ther  werkyng  hem  womanly  cherysshyng. 
On  vicious  lust  ful  smal  was  thy  thynkyng; 
Wherfore,  thow  shuldyst  of  resoun  advertyse, 
Tatempre  thy  dool  in  more  tendir  wyse:] 

For  sodenli  and  also  onauised, 

As  a  foul  is  trappid  in  a  snare, 

Be  onwar  fraude  vpon  the  practised. 

Thou  were  deceyued,  pleynli  to  declare, 

Hauyng  this  conceit,  hard  is  to  repare 

The  name  off  hem  which  falsli  be  difFamed, 

Whan  wrong  report  the[r]  hih  renoun  hath  shamed 

Touchyng  thi  persone,  I  dar  afFerme  &  seyn, 
That  it  were  a  maner  inpossible. 
And  lik  a  thyng  which  neuer  yit  was  seyn, 
That  thi  worshepe  was  fouwde  coruptible, 
But  stedfast  ay  and  indyuysible, 
Ondepartid  in  vertu  and  maad  strong. 
And  now  desirous  tauenge  thi  pitous  wrong. 

On  thyn  iniurie  we  shal  auengid  be, 
Considred  first  the  dedli  heuynesse 
Which  thou  suffredist  bi  gret  aduersite. 
Whan  thauoutour  thi*  beute  dede  oppresse, 
And  reioishyng  bi  a  fals  gladnesse, 
Maugre  thi  will[e],  as  a  theefF  be  nyht 
The  encouwbred  off  veray  force  &  myht. 




1 104 

1 108 


1091.  2nd  of3  om.  R. 

1092.  of]  and  Harley  1766. 

1096.  hem  womanly]  womanly  hem  R. 

1 100.  also]  al  H.       1104.  is]  it  is  R. 

1 106.  ther]  the  J,  H,  R  3,  H  S,  P. 

1 1 13.  now]  not  H. 

1 1 14.  shal]  shullen  R. 
1 1 17.  thi]  thei  B. 

BK.  Il] 

The  Story  of  Lucrece 


But  yifF  thou  woldist  leue  al  thi  moomyng     [p. 

And  restreyne  thyn  Inportable  wo, 

Thou  sholdist  seen  so  egal  a  punshyng 

Vpon  thi  moste  froward  mortal  fo, 

To  wame  alle  othre,  thei  shal  no  mor  do  so, 

In  chastisyng  ofF  fals  auoutrie, 

The  and  thi  renoun  off  riht  to  magnefie. 

What  was  difFacyng  to  thi  trewe  entent, 

Thouh  his  youthe  onbridled  wente  at  large, 

So  for  tafForce  a  celi  innocent  ? 

Whos  wikkednesse  ouhte  to  here  the  charge, 

And  we  off  riht  thi  conscience  discharge. 

The  ioie  onleefFul  off  his  fals  plesaunce, 

With  double  palme  thyn  honour  doth  auauwce. 

Conceyue  and  see,  o  thou  my  Lucrece, 

How  that  resoun  and  good  discrecioun 

Sholde  thi  trouble  &  thi  moumyng  cese. 

Off  riht  restreyne  thyn  opynyoun. 

So  reklesli  to  do  punycioun. 

With  knyf  on  honde  to  slen  thisilff,  alas! 

For  othres  gilt,  and  dedist  no  trespas. 

Lat  be,  Lucrece,  lat  been  al  thi  dool, 

Cese  thi  compleynt  &  thi  wo  restreyne. 

Sholde  I  fro  the  lyue  alone  al  sool, 

And  thi  deth  perpetueli  compleyne  t 

To  putte  thi  fader  in  inportable  peyne,  — 

Off  our  weelfare  be  nat  so  rek[e]les. 

To  deie  and  leue  our  childre  moodirles. 

Off  prudence  eek  thou  ouhtest  for  to  see 

And  aduertise  onli  off  resoun, 

Thouh  off  force  thi  bodi  corupt  be, 

Thi  soule  inward  and  thyn  entencioun 

Fraunchised  been  from  al  corupcioun. 

Offens  is  noon,  considre  in  thyn  entent, 

But  will  and  herte  yiue  therto  ful  consent. 

Thou  were  nakid  in  thi  bed  liggyng, 

Alone,  onwar,  slepyng  and  void  off  myht, 

Suspeciounles  al  off  his  comyng. 

J 02]  "Only  restrain 
"    your  sorrow 
and  you  will 
sec  exemplary 
dealt  to  your 

^1-4  enemy,  as  a 

warning  to  all 

1 1 28  "His  unbridled 
youth  did  not 

prejudice  your 


reason  and  dis- 
cretion both 
1 136  demand  that 
you  should  not 
sacrifice  year 
life  for  an- 
other's gilt. 

1 140 

"Lay  aside 
your  sorrow, 
Lucrece,  and  do 
not  be  so  reck- 
II44  !ess  of  our 

1 148 

"Your  soul  is 
free  from  all 

1 1 56 

It  IS  not  sur- 
prising that  a 
weak  woman 
should  be  over- 
come by  a 
strong  man. 

1 122.  Importable  H. 

1131,  ouhte  to]  of  riht  ouht  R.       1132.   off  riht]  also  R. 

1 133.  fals]  hertly  R.       1140.   on]  in  R. 

1 142.  thi]  this  R.       1 144.   al]  and  R.       1146.   importable  H. 

1151.  corruptidH.       1158.   al]as  H,  H5,  R  3— Suspiciousles  P. 


The  Story  of  Lucrece 

[bk.  II 

"  Yet  I  know 
that  for  all  his 
strength  he 
never  could 
compel  your 
heart  to  yield. 

"What  is  more 
than  the  con- 
trast between 
his  fraud  and 
your  constancy? 

"  We  know  well 
that  the  tyrant 
found  you  more 
like  an  image 
of  stone  than  a 
being  of  flesh 
and  blood. 

"Your  father 
and  I  have 
both  excused 
you,  so  do  not 
think  of  killing 

"If  you  do,  it 
will  seem  to 
some  that  you 
were  guilty; 



That  tyme  namli,  because  that  it  was  nyht. 

A  feerful  woman,  and  he  an  hardi  knyht, 

Al-be-it  so  onknyhtli  was  his  deede, 

With  nakid  suerd  tassaile  thi  womanheede.  . 

He  myhte  thi  bodi  be  force  weel  oppresse 

Be  sleihti  weies  that  he  hadde  souht; 

But  weel  wot  I,  for  al  his  sturdynesse, 

He  myhte  neuer  ha[ue]  maistri  off  thi  thouht. 

The  bodi  yolde,  the  herte  yald  hym  nouht. 

Ye  wer[en]  tweyne,  thou  feeble  &  he  riht  strong,  1168 

Thi  trouthe  afForced,  he  werkere  off  the  wrong. 

Where  myhtistou  ha[ue]  grettere  price  or  laude, 

Al  riht  considred,  trouthe  and  equite: 

First  couMtirpeised  his  force  &  sleihti  fraude, 

Thanne  to  perseuere  in  femynyte 

With  thouht  onchauwgid,  &  in  fragilite 

Off  womanheed  to  haue  an  herte  stable,  — • 

What  thyng  in  the  myht  be  mor  comendable  ? 

It  is  weel  knowe  thou  were  off  herte  ay  oon. 

To  all  fals  lustis  contraire  in  gouernaunce, 

Mor  lik  an  ymage  korue  out  off  a  ston. 

Than  lik  a  woman  flesshli  off  plesaunce 

The  tirant  fond  the  in  cheer  &  contenaunce. 

Which  euer  afftir  be  womanli  victorie* 

Shal  be  ascryued  to  thyn  encres  off  glorie. 

Thi  fadir  Brutus  hath  the  weel  excusid, 

Misilff  also,  thi  blood  &  thi  kynreede,  — 

On  this  mater  lat  no  mor  be  musid. 

To  sle  thisilff  or  do  thi  sidis  bleede, 

Certis,  Lucrece,  thou  hast  ful  litil  neede; 

It  were  gret  wrong  be  al  our  iugement 

To  spare  a  tirant  and  slen  an  innocent. 

Thi-silff  to  moordre,  to  sumwe  it  wolde  seeme 

Thou  were  gilti,  wher-as  thou  art  cleene. 

Dyuers  wittis  dyuersli  wolde*  deeme, 

Reporte  thyng  thou  neuer*  dedist  meene. 

For  which  thou  shalt  pacientli  susteene, 

1 160.  feerdful  R.       1164.  out  souht  R. 

1 165.   sturdynesse]  worthynesse  H. 

1 169.  Thi]TheR  — he]ofR. 

1174.   &]  om.  R  —  fragilige  R.       1182,83.  victoire,  gloire  B. 

1 186.   this]  thi  H  —  mor]  man  H. 

1 193.  wolde]  will  B,  R  3,  wil  J,  P,  wyl  H  5. 

1 194.  And  reporte  R  —  thou  neuer]  that  thou  neu^r  R  — 
neuer]  non  B,  J,  none  P  (which  thou  noon  did  meen  R  3). 



1 180 

1 184 


BK.  Il] 

Lucrece's  Answer  to  her  Husband 


Till  thi  chast[e]  wiffli  innocence  1196 

May  seen  hym  punshed  for  his  violence. 

Folk  wil  nat  deeme  a  persone  innocent, 

Which  wilfulli,  whan  he  is  nat  coupable, 

Yildith  hymselfF  to  deth  be  iugement, 

And  neuer  afFom  was  off  no  gilt  partable. 

His  owne  doom,  vpon  hymsilfF  vengable, 

Causeth  the  peeple,  thouh  ther  report  be  nouht. 

To  deeme  a  thyng  that  neuer  was  doon  nor  thouht.  1204 

for  folk  will  not 
hold  a  person 
innocent  who 
wilfully  yields 
1200  himself  to 

To  been  auengid  vpon  thyn  owne  lifF, 

In  excusyng  off  thi  dedli  diffame, 

To  shewe  thou  art  a  trewe  parfit  wifF, 

Wenyng  be  deth  to  gete  the  a  name,  —  1208 

In  this  deuys  thou  art  gretli  to  blame, 

Wher  thou  yit  knowest  thyn  honour  cleerli  shyne, 

To  yiue  the  peeple  mater  to  deuyne." 

^  And  with  that  woord  Lucrece  dede  abraide, 

Ful  dedli  pale  bothe  ofF  look  and  cheer. 

To  them  ageyn,  euene  thus  she  saide: 

"  Lat  be,  husbonde,  lat  be,  my  fader  deer, 

Spekith  no  mor  to  me  off  this  mateer. 

List  men  dempte,  in  hyndryng  off  my  name, 

I  dradde  deth  mor  than  fals  difFame. 

[p.  10"^]  ^'^^ ''  y°"  '^''^ 

'•'^*         ^     this   you  w 

you  would 
be  greatly  to 

12 12  ^'th  that  word 
Lucrece  an- 
swered," Let  be, 

my  husband 
and  my  father. 


Your  counsail  is,  I  shal  my  lifF  conserue 
To  sorwe  and  sclaundre,  but  to  no  gladnesse; 
But  lasse  wikke  is  at  an  hour  to  sterue 
Than  euer  langwisshe  in  sorwe  &  heuynesse. 
Deth  maketh  an  eende  off  al  worldli  distresse; 
And  it  was  said  sithe[n]  ful  yore  ago. 
Bet  is  to  deie  than  euer  to  lyue  in  wo. 

Whan  that  worshepe  in  any  creature 
Is  slayn  and  ded  be  sclaund[e]rous  report. 
Bet  is  off  deth  the  dreedful  peyne  endure. 
Than  be  fals  noise  ay  luye  in  disconfort, 
Wher  newe  &  newe  difFame  hath  his  resort. 

"Your  counsel 
is  that  I  shall 
1220  li^"e  in  sorrow; 
but  it  is  less 
wrong  to  die 
than  ever  to 
languish  in  woe. 



"When   honour 
is  (Iain,  it  is 
better  to  endure 

1204.  nor]  no  R. 

1218.   deth  mor3  more  deth  R.       1219.   my  lifi"  I  shal  H. 

1221.  wikkyd  R. 

1224.  said]  ow.  R  —  sithen]  sithe  J,  P,  sythen  H  5  —  yore] 
longe  R  3,  yeere  H  5. 

1225,  28.   Bettir  R.  1229.  discomfort  H. 
1230.  difFame]  fame  R,  H. 

234  Lucrece's  Answer  to  her  Husband  [|bk.  il 

Neuer  deieth,  but  queklth  be  thoutrage 

Off  hatful  tuwges  &  venymous  language.  1232 

"Do  your  best  Doth  youf  dcucF  to  halwc  &  make  stable 

wifely  chastity  The  chast[e]  chauwbres  off  wifli  gouernaunce; 

geance  on  the    FoF  in  this  cas  yiff  yc  be  variable 

adulterer.         q^  £^|g  auouto  foF  to  do  vcngauwce,  1236 

Ther  shal  folwe  euerlastyng  remembrauwce, 
How  trewe  spousaile,  as  ye  han  herd  deuysed, 
In  your  cite  was  broke  and  nat  chastised. 

"If  you  are      Yiff  ye  be  founde  in  such  cas  necligent  1240 

found  neghgent,  t-.  i  m     't  •  i 

licentiousness      io  punysshe  auoutouts,  Oil  Tiht  as  is  your  charge, 
bridied"at"iarge-  Thotuh  your  slouthe,  as  ye  were  off  assent, 

Luxure  onbridled  shal  renne  abrod  at  large. 

Who  shal  thanne  your  conscience  discharge,  1244 

Or  what  woman  stonde  in  sekirnesse, 

Off  Lucrece  afforced  the  clennesse  ? 

"What  joy       O  deere  husbonde,  what  ioie  sholde  it  be 

would  you  _,        ,  .      ' 

have,  dear  hus-  lo  thyn  cstat,  m  ony  maner  place,  1248 

me  after  Tar-    Lich  as  thi  wiff  [fot]  to  chcrisshc  me, 
wime'f  °'^"       Or  in  thyn  armys  me  goodli  to  enbrace, 
The  gilt  horrible  considred  and  trespace 
Be  Tarquyn  doon  —  alas  and  welaway!  —  1252 

Which  in  my  persone  may  neuer  be  wasshe  away? 

"And,  my        And  fader  myn,  how  sholdestou  me  calle, 

father,  how  can    «rr'i-ii  ii  i 

you  call  me      Aittir  this  day,  thyn  owne  douhter  deere, 
this  day?*  "   Which  am,  alas,  refus  off  women  alle,  1256 

That  to  thi  plesaunce  was  whilom  most  enteere, 
Withynne  thi  hous  whan  I  dede  lere, 
Bi  cleer  exauwple  off  manyfold  doctryne, 
Al  that  partened  to  vertuous  disciplyne?  1260 

"Having lost     Which  I  haue  lost  now  in  my  daies  olde, 

my  virtue,  I        _^.  .        ,   .  -^ 

dare  not  even    Discspeircd  it  to  tccurc  ageyn. 

chiidrenf'^  °^°  Myn  owne  childre,  I  dar  hem  nat  beholde, 

Because  the  wombe  in  which  that  thei  ha[ue]  leyn  1264 

Diffouled  is  and  poUut  in  certeyn. 

Which  was  toforn  in  chastite  conserued. 

Chastisith  thauoutour,  as  he  hath  disserued! 

1 241.   avoutrers  R. 

1243.   Luxury  H,  R  3,  Luxurie  P  —  renne  abrod]  goone  aboute 

R,  ryn  about  R  3. 
1245.   schall  stonde  R.       1249.   for]  om.  J. 
1258.   thi]  thyne  R,  thyn  H,  R  3,  H  5.       1262.    Dlspeired  R. 
1264.   the]  that  the  R  —  haue]  om.  R.       1265.   pollutid  H. 



Lucrece^s  Answer  to  her  Father 

And  for  my  part  to  speke  in  woordes  fewe, 

Lenger  to  lyue  I  ha[ue]  no  fantasie; 

For  wher  sholde  I  out  my  face  shewe, 

Or  dore  appeere  in  any  cumpanye, 

Sithe  a  dirk  spotte  off  fals  auoutrie 

Shal  euer  encrece*,  wher  it  be  fals  or  trewe, 

Into  myn  hyndryng  the  sclaundre  to  renewe  ? 

Lust  afforcid  hath  a  fals  appetit, 
Of  freelte  includid*  in  Nature; 
Maugre  the  will,  ther  folweth  a  delit, 
As  summe  folk  seyn,  in  eueri  creature. 
Good  fame  lost,  ful  hard  is  to  recure; 
And  sithe  I  may  myn  harmys  nat  redresse, 
To  you  in  open  my  gilt  I  will  confesse. 

Al-be  I  was  ageyn  my  will  oppressid, 

Ther  was  a  maner  constreyned  lust  in  deede, 

Which  for  noun  power  myht  nat  be  redressid, 

For  febilnesse  I  stood  in  so  gret  dreede. 

For  which  offence  deth  shal  be  my  meede, 

Sith  leuer  I  haue  with  sum  egge  tool 

To  sle  mysilff,  than  lyue  in  sclaundre  &  dool. 

O  fader  myn,  spare  and  ha[ue]  pite! 
And  deere  husbonde,  rewe  on  myn  offence! 
Goddis  &  goddessis  callid  off  chastite, 
To  my  trespace  graunteth  an  indulgence; 
For  off  my  gilt  to  make  a  recompence, 
Wher  that  Venus  gat  in  me  auauntage, 
Deth  shal  redresse  &  chastise  myn  outrage. 

For  yiff  I  sholde  make  a  delay 

To  perce  my  brest  bi  sharpnesse  off  a  knyff. 

Men  wolde  deeme  and  sey  fro  day  to  day, 

To  make  my  sclaundre  mor  open  &  mor  ryff. 

How  that  I  was  mor  tendir  off  my  lyff  1300 

Than  off  my  worshep,  which  wer  to  gret  a  shame,  — 

To  loue  my  liff  mor  than  my  good[e]  name! 

1270.   out  my  face3  my  face  out  R. 

1273.  euer  encrece]  euermore  B,  eu^rmore  J  —  wher]  whedir  H. 

1274.  renewe]  remewe  H. 

1276.   includid]   indudyng   R,   concludid   hoolly   H,   encludid 

hooly  R  3,  the  word  includid  is  repeaUd  in  B,  J,  H  5. 
1281.   my  gilt  in  open  R.       1282.   Al-be]  Also  R. 
1283.   Ther]  the  H.       1284.   noun]  no  R. 
1287.   Sith]  And  R.       1290.   deere]  trew  H, 
1291.  callid]  om.  R.       1297.  a]  om.  H. 


1268  "^'°r  have  I 
the  desire  to 
live  longer: 
defouled,  I  dare 
not  appear  in 
any  company. 


"Lust  afforced 
has  a  false  ap- 
1276  petite,  delight 
follows,  even 
though  it  be 
against  the 


and  as  such 
was  my  experi- 
ence, I  would 
rather  kill  my- 
1284  sdf  with  some 
edged  weapon 
than  live  in 


[p.   104]  "T>«  S°<Js  and 
'  '     goddesses  of 

chastity  grant 
this  indulgence, 
that  death  may 
redress  my 
1292  wrong-doing. 

1296  "I^  I  4f'*>'/.  , 
men  will   thmlc 
that  I  loved 
life  more  than 
my  good  name. 

236  The  Death  of  Lucrece  {j&k.  ii 

"No  witness  is  In  this  matecr  no  witnesse  is  so  good, 

so  good  as  rri  1    r   1 

blood  shed  with  lo  puttc  a-way  ai  rals  suspeciouw,  1304 

a  knife.  ^^  W\t\\  a  knyfF  to  sheede  myn  herte  blood : 

I  myht  nat  make  a  bet  purgacioun 

To  alle  folk  that  ha[ue]  discrecioun, 

Than  fynali  be  my  deth  texcuse  1308 

The  gilt  horible,  off  which  men  me  accuse. 

"Go  forth,  my  Go  fooFth  my  soule,  peur  &  inmortal, 

soul,  before  the    _,,         „r   i       •  rr 

judges  infernal,  Cheerr[e]  witnessc  ott  myn  mnocence, 

who  will  decide  »-r.    r  i        •  i   •    i     i        •     r  l 

that  my  con-     1  otor  tho  mgcs  which  be  mternal:  1312 

science  was       ^'ust  Mynos,  kyng,  to  deeme  my  conscience, 

With  Radamanthus  to  yeuen  a  sentence 

Lik  my  desert,  that  it  may  be  seene, 

In  wifli  trouthe  how  that  I  was  cleene.  1316 

and  let  my       Thou  cttheli  body,  which  thoruh  thi  fairnesse 

blood  stir  and     __,  •    r    ^ 

excite  the         Were  to  auoutri  lul  gret  occasiouw, 
aiTking^for' ^  Off  thi  blood  sheede  out  the  red[e]nesse, 

Tarquin's  sake.   ^^^  ^^  ^j^j  ^jj^^  j^^^  J^  ^.^Jj^  ^J^^^.  ^^^^ 

Stere  and  excite  the  peeple  off  this  toun 
To  doon  ther  deuer,  withynwe  a  litil  while, 
For  loue  off  Tarquyn,  alle  kynges  to  exile. 

"Do  not  delay  And  fitst  I  ptaic,  myn  husbonde  most  enteer^,      1324 
geance."  Off  this  vengauwcc  to  make  no  delay; 

With  helpe  &  socour  off  my  fader  deer^ 
To  punysshe  thauoutour,  in  al  the  haste  ye  may; 
Let  hym  take  his  wages  and  his  pay,  1328 

Lik  as  ye  seen,  and  pleynli  now  conceyue. 
For  his  offence  the  deth  I  do  receyue." 

And  suddenly.   And  sodcnli,  or  thei  myhte  aduerte, 

kneT what  she  She  took  2L  knyff,  and  with  gret  violence,  1332 

r"k  aTnife'and  Thotuh  the  btest,  cucne  onto  the  herte 

Ei"rf  ind"       She  made  it  glide,  —  ther  was  no  resistence. 

if  thei^"feft"'^  Ful  pale  and  ded  fill  doun  in  ther  presence. 

And  bi  occasiouw*  off  this  pitous  deede,  1336 

Tarquyn  exilid,  and  hooli  his  kenreede. 

1306.  myht]  may  R  —  bet]  bettir  R. 

1308.  Than]  &  H  —  texcuse]  excuse  R. 

1309.  accuse]  excuse  R. 

13 10.  peur]  pore  R  —  &]  &  and  R  —  Immortall  H. 
1312.   tho]  the  R,  H,  R  3.       1319.   thi]  the  H. 
1326.   &]  om.  R. 

1328.   pay]  play  R,  pray  H. 

J330.   do]  now  R. 

1336.  bi  occasioun]  boccasioun  B,  bi  the  occasion  R. 

BK.  ii]  The  Story  of  Appius  and  Virginia  237 

For  which[e]  cause,  be  record  off  writyng,  S'Jre  wL"^^^ 

Was  ther  neuer  in  Rome  the  cite,  ^^"  *  ■''^s  "» 

,  '  Rome. 

AiFtir  that  day  no  man  crownyd  kyng,  1340 

As  in  cronycles  ye  may  beholde  and  see. 

Thus  for  luxur[y]e  and  ther  cruelte, 

Ther  tirannye  and  fals  extorsioun, 

Thei  wer  exilid  out  off  Rome  toun.  1344 

[How  Rome  aftir  was  gouemed  and  virginea  bi  hir 
fadir  slaynj  ^ 

GOUERNED  afFtir  bi  other  officeres,  ^me  '^a* 

As  is  remembred  in  Titus  Lyuyus,  goranta  by 

Callid  decemvir  of  dyuers  cronycleres;  a^^^'"hom 
Among[es]  which  ther  was  on  Appius,                     1348  r«e/for"hii 

A  iuge  ontrewe,  proud  and  luxurious,  dishonesty. 
Which  thoruh  the  cite,  the  story  berth  witnesse, 
Behatid  was  for  his  gret  falsnesse. 

And  onys  it  fill,  as  he  caste  his  look  1352  He  once  saw  a 

Vpon  a  maide  most  inli  fair  off  siht,  daughter  of 

A  fals  desir  withynne  his  herte  he  took  wh^'he  ° 

Hir  to  disuse,  ageyn  al  skele  and  riht.  SSbn.  ^*' ' 

And  she  was  doubter  to  a  worthi  knyht,  1356 

Ful  manli  founde  in  his  deedis  all, 

And  Virginius  the  Romeyns  dede  hym  call. 

Whos  goodli  doubter,  the  story  doth  us  lere,  Her  name  was 

Was  afftir  hym  for  his  noble  fame  1360    ^'^^' 

Virginia  callid,  most  goodli  &  enteere; 

And  for  this  cause  she  bar  the  same  name. 

But  Appius  ful  gretli  was  to  blame. 

Which  hath  conspired  thoruh  his  gret  falsnesse,   1364 

YifF  that  he  myhte  hir  beute  to  oppresse. 

This  iuge  ontrewe  bothe  in  thouht  and  deede,  tt^'s  dishonest 

Off  lawe  onrihtful  souhte  out  occasioun;  ier^""at-!aw 

Made  a  sergeant  off  his  to  proceede,  1368  IgaL'^^r  on  a 

Ageyn  this  maide  to  take  an  accioun,  ^^"^  '^*'^' 

Qeymed  hir  his  seruant  bi  fals  collusioun. 

And  this  was  doon  be  Appius  off  entent 

That  he  on  hir  myht  yiue  a  iugement.  1372 

1346.   in]  bi  H,  by  R  3. 

1366.   and]  in  R.       1368.   to]  go  R. 

1369.   maide]  raateer  R.       1370.   Cleymed]  Clevm  H. 

1372.   on]ofH. 

^  MS.  J.  leaf  43  verso. 

238  Jppius*  Disgrace  and  Death  [bk.  il 

mighffind  op-  And  be  this  mene,  in  his  fals  delit,  [p.  105] 

portunky  to      Thouhtc  hc  mvhte  hir  beute  best  disuse, 

accomplish  bis  i-      i        i  •      n         i  i-  • 

desire.  So  fof  taccomphsshe  his  flesshh  appetit, 

She  beyng  feeble  thaccioun  to  refuse.  1376 

Wherupon  hir  fader  gan  to  muse, 
Fulli  conceyued  off  Appius  the  maner, 
In  hir  difFence  wrouhte  as  ye  shal  heer. 

hi"d^fd'eT     Whan  Appius  hadde  youe  his  iugement  1380 

her'fathertook  ^geyn  this  maide,  which  aforn  hym  stood, 
her  to  one  side  Hir  manli  fadir,  most  knyhtU  off  entent, 

and  stabbed  ill-  j 

her  to  the         1  ooK  hir  appatt,  as  he  thouhte  it  good, 

And  with  a  knyfF  shadde  hir  herte  blood:  1384 

Dempte  it  bettre  to  slen  hir  in  clennesse, 
Than  the  tirant  hir  beute  sholde  oppresse. 

wfs  pre\Mved.  Thus  hool  conserued  was  hir  chastite* 

And  ondefoulid  was  hir  maydenheede;  1388 

For  Virginius  to  keepe  hir  honeste 

Spared  no  thyng  to  make  hir  sides  bleede. 

But  Appius  for  this  horible  deede, 

And  decemvir,  thoruh  this  onhappi  chau«ce,         1392 

Hadde  in  that  cite  neuer  afftir  gouernaunce. 

pr^finMr  '°  ^  As  the  story  maketh  also  mencioun, 

there  slew  him-  Appius,  ashamcd  off  this  deede, 

Slouh  hymsilfF[e]  fetrid  in  prisouw:  1396 

Off  a  fals  iuge,  loo  heer  the  fynal  meede! 

And  tho  tribuni  in  Rome  gan  succeede, 

Twen  riht  &  wrong  treuli  to  discerne, 

And  Romayn  lawes  iustli  to  gouerne.  1400 

lay'b^e'over-    Men  may  heer  seen  as  in  a  merour  cleer, 
menrwh'o^a^r'  Estatis  chauwgid  for  ther  gret  offencis; 
sometimes  or-    And  bc  sum  poote  pcrsouc  synguleer 

darned  by  God    _^  .  \  ^^  ^  r 

to  chastise  the  Fryucis  put  doun  ttom  ther  magnyhcencis,  1404 

Which  nat  considre  in  ther  gret  excellencis, 

How  God  ordeyneth  his  yerde  [in]  sundri  wise. 

The  poore  sumwhile  the  pompous  to  chastise. 

1379.   hir]]  his  H. 

1383.   it]  it  was  R.       1384.   shadde]  he  shad  H. 

1387.   chastite]  virgynyte  B,  J,  R. 

1389.   honeste]  virgynyte  H.       1391.   this]  his  R,  thi  H. 

1392.  thoruh  this]  for  his  H.       1395-   this]  his  R. 

1398.  Tribunes  H  —  began  to  R.       1399.   Betwene  R. 

1402.  offence  R.       1404.   magnyficence  R. 

1405.  excellence  R. 

1406.  ordeynyd  H,  ordeyned  R  3  —  in]om.  H,  H  5. 

1407.  sumwhile]  sumtyme  R 

BK.  Il] 

Princes f  do  no  Wrong  to  the  Poor. 


^  Heeron  to  shewe  exaumple  anon  riht, 
Markid  in  story  for  a  notable  thyng, 
Pausanias,  off  Grece  a  manli  knyht, 
Off  Macedonye  slouh  Phelipp  the  kyng 
At  a  table  where  he  was  sittyng 
Tween  Alisandre  and  Olimpiades, 
His  wrong  tauengen,  amyddis  al  the  pres. 

9  Eek  Salmator,  a  knyht  off  low  degre, 
For  wronges  doon  in  especiall, 
Off  manli  force  groundid  on  equite 
Slouh  off  Cartage  the  prynce  Hastruball, 
Which  brother  was  onto  Due  Hanyball, 
Beside  a  ryuer,  as  thei  mette  in  bataile, 
Callid  Metaure,  which  renneth  in  Ytaile. 

Wherfore,  ye  Pryncis,  yiff  ye  list  longe  endure, 

Beth  riht  weel  war,  be  ye  neuer  so  strong, 

In  your  lordshepis  nat  to  moche  assure 

Off  surquedie  the  poraile  to  do  wrong. 

In  your  discrecioun  conceyuyng  euer  a-mong, 

Grettest  dreed  is,  that  may  your  staat  assaile. 

Whan  subieccioun  doth  in  the  peeple  faile. 

I40S  *?  ^''s  Pausa- 
nias, who  slew 
Philip  of  Mace- 


and  Salmator, 
who  killed 
14 16  Hasdrubal  of 

Carthage  at  the 




Princes,  if  you 
would  live  long, 
do  no  wrong 
1424  to  the  poor. 


^  Lenvoy. 

THIS  tragedie  declareth  in  partie. 
What  myscheef  folweth  of  extorsioun, 
Eek  off  spousbrech  and  of  auoutrie 
Be  Tarquyn  doon  thoruh  fals  oppressioun 
Onto  Lucrece  withynne  Rome  tou?: ; 
Kynges  exiled  for  such  mysgouemaile 
And  fals  outrages  doon  to  the  poraile. 

Eek  Appius,  off  wilful  tirannye, 
Ageyn  Virginia  took  an  accioun, 
Thoruh  a  fals  lust  off  froward  lecherie, 
Blent  and  fordirked  his  memorie*  &  resoun. 
Which  was  cheeff  cause  and  occasioun 
Whi  thestat  off  dishomme  dede  faile, 
Thoruh  fals  outrages  doon  to  the  poraile. 

This  tragedy 
shews  the  mis- 
chief that  fol- 
lows extortion 

and  adultery. 


1AX6  tyranny  and 
^■^     false  luit. 





Pausamyas  R  —  a]  a  ful  R  —  manli]  notable  H. 
Betwene  R.       1414.   in  myddis  R.       1422.   ye]  om.  R. 
statis  R.       1428.  doth]  don  H.       1432.  thoruh]  bi  R. 
memoire  B. 

dishomme]  dishome  R,  H,  thi  Name  (Na  in  later  band) 
decemvir  R  3,  Decemuir  P. 

240  Jeroboam,  King  of  Israel  [bk.  ii 

oum 'm  done    ^^^S  PHclipp  lostc  sccptrc  and  regalie 
to  the  poor.      Off  Maccdonye  the  famous  regeoun,  1444 

Onwarli  slay[e]n,  myd  his  cheualrie 
Sittyng  at  mete  withynwe  his  cheefF  dongouw. 
And  grettest  cause  off  his  fallyng  doun, 
Was  whan  Fortune  his  pride  dede  assaile  1448 

For  fals  outrages  doon  to  the  poraile. 
Even  Duke       Duk  Hasttubal,  whom  bokis  magnefie 

Hasdrubal,  for     _,  r        i  •      i   -i 

all  his  renown,   Vp  to  the  hcuenc  lOt  his  hih  renouw, 

was  slain  by  a    xtti  ■,  ,  i  i  • 

servant.  Whos  ttyuTTzphes  tauht  up  to  the  skie,  1452 

And  hadde  al  Cartage  in  his  subiecciouw,  — 
Yit  was  he  slayn  onwarH  be  tresouw, 
Be  a  seruant;   loo,  what  doth*  disauaile 
Treson  purposid  aforn  in  the  poraile!  1456 

Noble  Princes,   Noble  Pryncis,  your  resoun  doth  applie,  [p.  106] 

people  pru-       Whiche  ouet  the  peeple  ha[ue]  dominaciouw, 

dently;    for  p  i  i-  i  i  • 

nothing  can       oo  prudentH  to  goucme  hem  and  guie, 

thlt  thtT^°^^  That  loue  and  dreed  be  trewe  affecciouw  1460 

s^ct  of  the      Preserue  ther  hertis  from  fals  rebellioun, 


Sithe  to  your  hihnesse  nothyng  may  mor  preuaile 
Than  trewe  subiecciouw  expert  in  the  poraile. 

[How  leroboam  Kyng  of  Israel  for  Idolatrie  and 
disobedience  cam  to  mischeues  ende.]  ^ 

Of  six  kings      "VTEXT  these  stories,  in  Bochas  as  I  fynde,      1464 

who  next  ap-         I  ^1     ,-p,,  ,     ,  ,  . 

peared  to         JL  ^     1  her  dede  appeere  onto  his  presence 
bMm^pokeTrst,  Kywges  sexe,  hym  praieng  to  ha[ue]  mynde 

Vpon  ther  fall  be  onwar  violence 

From  ther  estatis  off  roial  excellence.  1468 

And  toforn  alle,  I  fynde,  that  ther  cam 

Off  al  Israel  kyng  leroboam. 

declaring  his     Onto  myn  auctout  he  began*  declare 

fall  with  a  pale  tt-       i     ii-  i  •   i  ^      r 

face.  His  dedli  compleynt  with  a  pale  race,  1473 

His  gret  myscheuys  and  his  euel  fare, 
And  how  he  fill  doun  from  his  kyngli  place 
Thoruh  gret  onhappis,  which  dede  his  h^frte  enbrace, 

1448.  Was]  om.  R. 

1449.  outrage  R.       1451,52.  Vp  to]  vnto  R. 
1455.  doth]  it  doth  B,  H,  J,  R  3,  H  5,  P  —  auaile  P. 
1461.  ther]  your  R  —  fals]  al  R.        1462.  nothyng  may] 

may  no  thyng  R. 

1471.  began]  began  to  B,  H,  J,  R  3,  H  5,  P. 

1472.  fale]  (u\  pale  R.       1475.   happis  R. 

1  MS.  J.  leaf  44  recto. 

BK.  Il] 

Jerohoam  and  Jadan  the  Prophet 


And,  as  this  story  pleynli  hath  deuysed. 
For  his  offends  how  he  was  chastised. 

An  ydolatre*  he  was,  as  it  is  told, 
Reised  up  auteres,  off  veray  force  &  myht, 
Set  therupon  too  calueren  of  peur  gold, 
Dede  hem  worshepe,  ageyn  al  skele  &  riht, 
Gaff  euel  exaumple  in  the  peeplis  siht. 
Whan  he  dede  with  fumys  and  encens 
To  fals  ydoles  ondeu  reuerens. 

Fro  the  temple  he  made  the  peeple  gon, 
Preestis  ordeyned  afftir  his  owne  guise. 
Forsook  the  tribe  off  Leuy  and  Aaron, 
And  vpon  Bethel  his  offryng  gan  deuise. 
And  whil  he  dede  onleefful  sacrefise, 
God,  that  weel  knew  off  hym  the  fals  entent, 
Fro  Jerusalem  a  prophete  to  hym  sent. 

Which  hym  rebuked  off  his  mysgouemaunce. 
And  gan  the  pereiles  to  hym  specefie; 
Told  hym  afom[e],  for  to  do  vengaunce 
Off  Dauid[s]  kyn  ther  sholde  come  on  losie, 
Which  sholde  his  preestis,  that  falsli  coude  lie, 
Manli  destroie,  and  slen  hem  alle  attonys 
And  into  asshes  brenne  hem  flessh  and  bonys. 

And  in  tokne  off  ther  destruccioun. 

The  prophete  told  among  hem  all. 

How  his  auteris  sholde  bowe  doun. 

And  his  ydoles  from  ther  stage  fall. 

Whom  that  foolis  ther  goddis  falsli  call. 

Which  ha[ue]  no  power  to  helpe  in  no  manere. 

For  thei  may  nouther  feele,  see  nor  heere. 

Afftir  this  prophete,  ladan,  hadde  told 
These  said[e]  signes  pleynli  to  the  kyng, 
His  auter  fill  on  pecis  manyfold, 





He  was  an 

idolater,  who 
set  up  two 
golden  calves, 

and  ordained 
priests  in  his 
own  fashion. 



God  sent  a 
Jadan,  to  re- 
buke him,  say- 
ing that  his 
priests  would 
be  destroyed  by 

and  that  hit 
idols,  called 
1500    gods  by  fools, 
would  be  over- 


After  Jadan 
had  finished 
speaking,  the 
altar  fdl  to 


1476.  this]  his  R.  1477,  offence  H.      1478.  ydolastre  B. 

1479.  auteres]  Aucttxes  H. 

1480.  Ther  vpon  sett  R  —  too]  om.  H  —  caluys  R,  calves  R  3, 
calues  P  —  peur]  cleen  H. 

1483.  he]  that  he  H.  1489.  whil]  whan  R. 
1493.  hi  gan  R.  1495.  Dauyd  H,  R  3,  H  s. 
1502.  stages  R. 

1505.  nouther  feele  see  nor]  neither  se  feele  ne  heer  R  —  feele 
see]  see  fele  H,  P,  R  3  —  nouther]  not  R  3. 

1506.  Afftir]  Aftir  l)at  H.       1508.  auteris  fyUen  R. 

242  Jeroboam  and  Jadan  |^bk.  il 

And  ouerturned  bakward  his  ofFryng; 

For  which  the  kyng,  furiousli  lokyng, 

Put  foorth  his  hand,  the  story  maketh  mynde, 

Bad  his  men  the  prophete  take  and  bynde.  1512 

The  king  was    And  ES  he  his  arm  rauht  out  on  lengthe, 

furious,  and,         tt     i  i  •  •   i    i 

stretching  out    Hadde  no  power  it  to  withdrawe  ageyn, 
jldairto"^^  Wex  onweeldi,  contract  and  lost  his  strengthe. 
bound*"But     And  whan  the  kyng  hath  these  toknys  seyn,         1516 
Irm  dmd^up,    -^"d  how  the  prophete  spak  no  woord  in  veyn, 
Gretli  astonyd,  koude  sey  no  more, 
But  prai[e]de  ladan  his  arm  for  to  restore. 

and  only  by     And  bc  his  praier  and  mediacioun,  1520 

Jadan's  prayer     ^ ^p  ,  .  "     rr^.     ^,. 

was  it  restored.  Oft  his  arm,  aittir  this  vengauwce, 
Ther  was  anon  maad  restituciouw, 
And  off  his  peyne  feelith  alegauwce. 
.    For  which  the  kyng,  with  ful  gret  instauwce,         1524 
Requered  hym  to  be  so  gracious, 
That  day  tabide  and  dynen  in  his  hous. 

The  king  then  But  the  ptophete  wolde  nat  assente, 
w^dine  with     Nouther  with  hym  to  ete  nor  to  drynke;  1528 

jLdan  refused    Took  his  asse,  and  foorth  anon  he  wente, 
and  went  away,  q^  whose  dcpattyng  the  kyng  gan  sore  thynke. 
And  fantasies  gan  in  his  herte  synke, 
Speciali  whan  he  taketh  heede  1532 

OfF  all  his  toknys,  how  thei  were  trewe  in  deede. 

God  had  com-  God  bad  ladan  in  this  gret  emprise 

neither  to'^t    To  leroboam  first  whan  he  was  sent, 

tlTt'^clt'y. ""      Ete  nor  drynke,  in  no  maner  wise,  1536 

In  that  cite  whil  he  was  present; 

But  a-nother  prophete  off  entent, 

Ful  old  and  slyh,  on  the  tother  side, 

Compellid  hath  this  ladan  to  abide.  1540 

But  one  of       Hym  afForcyng  be  fals  coUusiouw  [p.  107] 

Jeroboam's  _,-'  ^    *  ...U         V 

false  prophets    To  resorte  ageyn  to*  the  cite, 
K^bfy^""  And  to  make  no  contradiccioun 
Sndm'eX       With  hym  to  dyne  off  fraternyte,  iS44 

To  hym  afFermyng,  it  may  non  other  be: 

1519.  for]  om.  R.     1524.   ful]  ow.  H.     1525.   Requeryng  H. 

1528.  nor  to  drynke]  nelthir  drynke  R. 

1534.  ladan]  lason  R.       1535.    leroboam]  Jerusalem  R. 

1536.  nor]  neithir  R.       1537.   while  that  R. 

1538.  But  yit  R.       1539.   on  the  tother]  vpon  that  oter  R. 

1542.  to]  onto  B,  J  —  the]  that  R. 

BK.  Il] 

The  Punishment  of  Jadan 

For  God  sent  hym  as  to  his  freend  and  brother, 
Tabide  with  hym  &  pleynli  with  non  other, 

Off  freendliheed  and  trewe  alFeccioun 

Withynne  his  hous  to  shewen  his  presence. 

For  a  repast  and  a  refeccioun: 

This  Godis  will  and  fulli  his  sentence. 

To  whos  woordis  the  prophete  gafF  credence. 

And  as  thei  sat  at  dyner  bothe  ifeere, 

God  onto  ladan  seide  in  this  manere: 

"  For  the  brekyng  off  my  comauwdement, 

Thi  grete  offence  and  transgressioun,  1556 

That  thou  hast  been  so  wilful  necligent, 

Thou  shalt  endure  this  punycioun, 

Been*  al  to-torn  and  rent  off  a  leoun, 

And  in  thi  cuntre  thou  shalt  nat  recure,  1560 

With  prophetis  to  haue  thi  sepulture." 

OfFwhich[e]  tithyng,  this  ladan  nothyng  fayn, 

Gan  to  departe  with  a  ful  heuy  thouht: 

Off  a  leoun  myd  off  the  weye  slayn; 

But  his  asse  harmyd  was  riht  nouht. 

A  ful  gret  merueile,  yifF  it  be  weel  souht. 

The  leouw  sittynge  as  in  ther  difFence, 

And  kept  hem  bothe  from  al  violence.  1568 

Alle  these  toknys  myht[e]  nat  conuerte 

leroboam  from*  his  iniquite; 

Godis  warnyng  hym  list  nat  to  aduerte. 

Nor  be  his  prophete  correctid  for  to  be.  1572 

Wherfore,  God  wolde  that  he  sholde  see 

Vengaunce  folwe,  as  it  fill  in  deede, 

Bothe  vpon  hym  and  [on]  his  kynreede. 

A  sone  he  hadde,  which  fill  in  gret  siknesse,  1576 

Callid  Abimen,  the  book  doth  specefie; 

For  which  the  kyng  bad  the  queen  hir  dresse, 

To  gon  disguised,  withoute  cumpanye, 

Onto  a  prophete*  which  callid  was  Achye,  1580 

Hym  to  requere,  treuli  for  to  seye 

Whethir  the  child  sholde  lyue  or  deye. 

1551.  This  is  R.       1554.  in]  on  H.       1559.    Been]  Bien  B. 
1562.  tydyngis  R.       1563.    Began  R  — fuQom.  R. 
1564.   myd]  m  the  myddis  R.       1570.   from]  for  B. 

1574.  as]  riht  as  R. 

1575.  on]  also  on  R,  om.  H,  J,  R  3,  H  5,  P. 

1580.   a]  the  H  —  On  taprophete  B  —  was]  is  H  —  Ahye  P. 



1548    *°*^  while  they 
sat  at  meat 
together,  God 
said  to  Jadan, 

"For  breaking 
my  command- 
ment, thou 
shalt  be  slain 
by  a  lion  and 
never  return  (o 
thy  country." 

Jadan  was  not 
pleased  to  hear 
this,  but  never- 
theless  it  came 
1504    to  pass. 

and  Jeroboam 
continued  in 
hit  iniquity. 

His  son  Abijah 
feU  ill,  and  he 
bade  the  queen 
go  disguised  to 
the  prophet 
Ahijah  for  ad- 

244  ^0^  threatens  Jeroboam's  Wife  ^bk.  ii 

But  God  And  in  his  inward  sihte  contemplatifF, 

shewed  Ahijah     y^      i      i  -t   i  i   •      i  •  • 

that  it  was        Cjod  shcwcd  hym  bi  cleer  inspeccioun,  1584 

wife  who  came  Off  Icroboam  how  she  was  the  wifF, 

to  him,  Yqx  al  hir  sleihti  transformaciouw. 

For  nouther  fallas  nor  fals  decepcioun 

May  be  to  God,  but  it  be  parceyued;  1588 

For  he  nys  prophetis  may  nat  be  deceyued. 

and  he  told  her  She  Cam  to  hym  in  a  strauwge  weede; 
Jeroboam,  that  At  thcntryng  he  callid  hir  bi  hir  name: 
raised  him  ^     "  Com  foorth,"  quod  he,  "  for  it  is  no  neede         1592 
!o°T  king,''''"  To  hide  thi-silfF[e],  as  it  were  for  shame; 
For  the  trouthe  treuli  to  attame,* 
God  hath  youe  me  fulH  knowlechyng 
What  thou  shalt  answere  &  seyn  onto  the  kyng.  1596 

ungra\'efu1  Tnd  ^ey  pleynli  to  hym,  &  marke  it  in  thi  thouht, 

an  idolater,       j^  ^hi  repair  these  woordis  rehersyng, 

*Sith  God  hath  maad  the,  &  reised  the  up  off  nouht, 
From  a  seruaunt  to  regnen  as  a  kyng,  1600 

Fro  Dauidis  kyn,  most  worthi[ly]  regnyng, 
Partid  the  kyngdam  &  youen  it  onto  the, 
And  thou  onkynde  therofF  canst  nothyng  see,  — 

and  had  for-     His  gtcte  gooducssc  is  out  off  tcmembrauwce,       i6o4 

goodness  to  FulH  forgetyn  off  thi  froward  pride; 
In  fals[e]  goddis  put  thyn  affiauwce, 
God  aboue  falsli  set  a-side, 

Wherfore  from  the  anon  he  shal  deuyde  1608 

Thy  kyngdam  hool,  withoute  mor  delay, 
And  fro  thi  lyne  the  crowne  take  away. 

God  would  take  And  fot  thou  hast  to  thi  confusioun 

from  him  and    Thi  feith,  oufeithful,  to  falsc  goddis  take,  1612 

his  line  and  let  117  i-         r         j    .  1  •        1 

dogs  eat  their    Wrongh  retused  thi  relegeoun 

Off  God  aboue,  &  pleynh  hym  forsake. 

This  thende  which  that  thou  shalt  make: 

The  and  thi  kyn  no  man  may  socoure;  1616 

Flessh,  skyn  and  bon  houndis  shal  deuoure. 

1583.  his]  hir  H.       1587.   neithir  R. 

1589.  nys]  ne  his  R,  J,  P,  nor  his  H,  R  3  —  he  nys]  henys  H  5. 

1591.  hir  callid  R.       1592.   for]  for  certis  R. 

1594.  tattame  B.       1596.   answere  &  seyn]  make  answere  R. 

1597.  pleyn  R.       1598.   these]  ther  H.       1601.   worthi  J. 

1603.  theroff]  om.  R. 

1607.  God]  And  god  R  —  settist  R. 

1609.  Thy]  this  H,  The  R.       1610.   schal  take  R. 

1615.  This  is  the  eende  R  —  that]  om.  R. 


BK.  Il] 

Abijab  makes  War  on  Jerohoam 

And  at  thentryng  horn  to  thi  cite, 

Thi  sone  and  his,  thou  shalt  fynde  hym  ded, 

Off  al  his  kyn  thouh  ther  was  non  but  he  1620 

Founde  veray  good[e];   tak  heeroff  good  heed.'  " 

Off  which  answere  the  queen  fill  in  gret  dreed, 

Entryng  the  cite  in  especiall, 

Hir  child  was  ded,  &  lay  cold  be  the  wall.  1624 

Off  this  wamyng  the  kyng  took  non  heed,      [p. 
But  made  hym  redi  with  ful  gret  apparaile,  — 
Fourti  thousand  with  hym  he  dede  leed 
Off  manli  men  armed  in  plate  &  maile. 
With  kyng  Abias  to  haue  a  gret  bataile. 
The  which  Abias,  that  was  off  luda  kyng. 
Onto  his  peeple  saide  at  ther  meetyng: 

"  0  noble  knyhtis,  hath  o  thyng  in  memorie,*      1632 

No  man  venquysshith,  platli  to  conclude. 

With  gret  peeple,  nor  getith  hym  victorie 

With  noumbres  hepid  nor  gret  multitude; 

Fals  ydolatres,  God  will  hem  dillude,  1636 

Nat  suffre  his  seruauntis  that  be  trewe  &  sad 

Off  mescreantis  to  been  ouerlad. 


"And  you'll 
find  your  ton 
dead  when  you 
go  home." 

108]  T>e  king 

didn  t  care,  and 
set  out  to  fight 
Abijah,  king  of 
Judah,  who  told 
,   _  his  soldiers  that 

1028  God  would  not 
allow  an  idola- 
ter to  defeat 

Tryumphe  is  non  founde  off  newe  or  old 

In  these  ydoles  off  ston  nor  siluer  sheene. 

Nor  in  caluere  off  metal  maad  or  gold, 

Youe  to  that  parti  which  ontreuli  meene. 

And  sithe  that  God  knoweth  our  quarel  cleene, 

Ther  is  non  hope,  force  non  nor  myht  1644 

With  hem  that  grounde  hem  a  cause  ageyn[e]s  ryht. 

Hope  off  victorie*  stant  on  rihtwisnesse, 
Off  them  that  caste  ther  synful  liff  tamende. 
And  list  forsake  wrong  and  al  falsnesse,  1648 

And  with  hool  herte  onto  the  Lord  entende; 
Which  shal  this  day  his  grace  to  you  sende, 

1622.  queen]  kvng  R. 

1624.  Hir]  His'R  —  wall]  way  R. 

1626.  ful]  om.  R. 

1629.  kyng]  om.  H,  R  3  —  to  haue  a  gret  bataile]  to  haven 

in  bataile  R. 

1632.  hath]  haue  R.       1632,34.    memoire,  victoire  B. 

1634.  nor]  neithir  R,  om.  H  —  hym]  om.  R,  J,  P. 

1636.  ydolatreris  R.       1639.   Tryumphes  R  —  or]  nor  R. 

1640.  nor]  &  R.       1641.   caluere]  caluys  R,  calues  P,  R  3. 

1644.  nor]  ne  R.       1646.   victoire  B. 

1649.  hool]  the  hool  R.       1650.   his]  om.  H. 

and  that  the 
gc4den  calves 
1640  would  be  of  no 
avail  to  Jero- 

"Hope  of  vic- 
tory stands  on 
said  he. 

246  The  Fall  of  Jeroboam  [bk.  ii 

Our  trewe  cause  iustly*  to  termyne." 

And  thus  Abias  gan  his  tale  fyne.  1652 

Fifty  thousand  His  precstls  gan  ther  truwpes  for  to  blowe; 

of  Jeroboams       »       i   i  a  i  •  i  i     i  •     i  m 

men  were  slain,  And  Jcyng  Abias  thotuh  his  hih  renouw 
GafF  to  his  peeple,  bothe  to  hih  &  lowe, 
Ful  manli  confort  and  consolaciouw.  1656 

And  fiftl  thousand  be  computacioun 
Wer  slayn  that  day,  which  ful  proudli  cam 
Vpon  the  parti  off  kyng  leroboam. 

and  Jeroboam    And  al  the  patti  ofF  Icroboam,  1660 

and  all  his  Ime     .1.1  r    ^  rr  i   •      ^  1 

were  eaten  by   And  al  that  wcqejn  oiT  his  lyne  born, 
°^''  Afftir  this  bataile  onto  myscheefF  cam, 

Whan  thei  were  slayn,  with  houwdis  al  to-torn. 

As  the  prophete  hadde  hem  told  beforn.  1664 

But  for  the  kyng  took  therofF  non  heed. 

With  sodeyn  vengaunce  God  quit  hym  his  meed. 

[How  Zareas  Kyng  of  Ethiope  was  slayn  in  bataile.]  ^ 

After  Jeroboam,    A   FFTIR  hym  to  Bochas  dcdc  appeere, 

Zerah,  king  of        f-\      ,^  .       "'      ,  ,  ,.  t   r        J 

Ethiopia  and     -*.  A.  JNext  m  otdte  pleynii,  as  1  rynde,  1668 

India,  appeared,  ^^      rj  •    i  r    i      i 

almost  blind  for  On  Aareas,  with  a  sorwerul  cheere. 

LITetn^de-'''  And  he  was  kyng  ofF  Ethiope  and  Ynde, 

we°akh  ^nd"^''    Whos  cyett  wem  almost  with  wepyng  blynde, 

slain  in  battle    Praieng  myn  auctour,  his  onhappi  chaunce  1672 

by  Kmg  Asa.  i  i  r    i  •  i 

With  othre  wotui  to  putte  in  remembraunce, 

And  that  he  wolde  recorden  be  scripture 

His  sodeyn  fall  and  dolorous  distresse, 

And  his  difFamous  hatful  disconfiture,  1676 

With  the  dispoilyng  ofF  his  gret  richesse. 

And  how  kyng  Asaph,  thoruh  his  hih  noblesse, 

Myd*  his  peeple,  as  he  dede  hym  assaile, 

Hath  hym  venquysshid  &  slay[e]n  in  bataile.        1680 

165 1,  iustly]  treuli  B,  truly  J,  P,  trewly  H  5. 

1652.  his  tale]  take  his  R.       1656.   manli]  many  H. 
1659.   kyng]  om.  R. 

1669.    3oreas  H. 

1 67 1,  wit^  wepyng  almost  R. 

1672.  his]  that  his  H. 

1676.   diffamous]  famous  R  —  scomfiture  H. 

1678.  hih]  am.  H  —  Asaph]  Asa  P. 

1679.  Myd]  And  B,  J,  H  5,  P,  Amyd  R  3  InmyddisR. 

1  MS.  J.  leaf  45  recto. 

BK.  Il] 

Adaby  Zimri  and  Ahab 


paow  Adab  kyng  of  lenwalem  lost  sceptre  & 
crowne.]  ^ 

OFF  Israel  than  cam  the  woful  kyng 
Callid  Adab,  ful  pitousli  wepyng, 
Onto  Bochas  his  compleynt  rehersyng, 
How  kyng  Basa,  be  subtil  fals  werkyng,  1684 

With  sodeyn  slauhtre  caused  his  fallyng, 
Whan  Fortune  gan  falsH  [on  hym]  frowne, 
And  took  oniustli  from  hym  sceptre  &  crowne. 

Next,  King 
Adab  came  to 
complain  of  his 
sudden  slaugh- 
ter by  King 

[How  the  vengeable  prince  Zambrias  set  a  toure  on 
fire  and  brent  himsilf .]  ^ 

NEXT  cam  Zambrias,  a  prince  [ful]  vengable,  1688  zimri,  a 
Which  slouh  kyng  Helam  be  fals  tresoun,  prince,  who 

That  fond  also  Fortune  ful  onstable; 
For  this  Zambrias  off  entencioun 
Hath  moordrid  hym  withynne  the  cheefFdongoun  1692 
Off  his  castell,  with  a  ful  gret[e]  route, 
As  he  onwarli  laide  a  siege  aboute. 

But  Amaryn,  a  prynce  off  ful  gret  myht, 
Cam  into  Tharse,  a  famous  strong  cite, 
And  cast  hym  pleynli,  lik  a  worthi  knyht. 
On  this  Zambrias  auenged  for  to  be, 
Hym  to  destroie  withoute  merci  or  pite. 
But  into  a*  tour  as  Zambrias  wente. 
Set  it  affire,  and  so  hymsilff  he  brente. 

burnt  himself 
up  in  a  tower 
1696  to  escape  pun- 
ishment at  the 
hands  of  Omri. 


[OS.  Kyng  Achab  &  lezabel  his  wifF.]  ^ 

WYTH  sihhes  sore  &  wepyng  inportable, 
Cam  kyng  Achab  onto  lohn  Bochas, 
Whos  hertli  sorwe  was  incomparable. 
And,  compleynyng,  ful  offte  [he]  seide,  alas! 
Besechyng  hym  to  write  his  woful  cas, 

1681.  woful]  wolful  R. 

1682.  Adas  R,  Nadab  P.       1688.   ful]  om.  H,  J. 
1689.   fals]  ful  fals  H,  R  3,  H  5.       1695.   Amri  P. 

1696.  into]  to  H  —  Tharsa  P.       1697.  worthi]  manly  R. 

1699]  om.  R.       1700.   inta  B,  in  a  R. 

1701.   he]  om.  R,  R  3. 

1704.   hertli]  erthly  H.       1705.    ful]  of  R. 

^  MS.  J.  leaf  45  recto.  *MS.  J.  leaf  45  verso. 

King  Ahab, 
with  importable 
weeping,  be- 
sought Bochas 
1 704  to  write  his 

and  his  daugh- 
ter  Athaliah'g 

248  Ahab  and  Jezehel  [^bk.  ii 

Compile  his  fallyng  and  the  fate  ifeere 
Off  AthaHa  his  owne  douhter  deere.  1708 

He  was  a         To  God  aboue  most  contrarious  [p.  109] 

wicked  man         rr>i  •       a     i      i  •  i   i  • 

and  had  a         1  his  Achab  was  m  al  his  gouernauwce, 
S'wifrcan^"  And  hadde  a  wifF  cruel  and  lecherous 
Jezebel.  CalHd  lezabcl,  which  set  al  hir  plesauwce  171a 

On  Godis  prophetis  for  to  do  vengauwce: 
In  the  Bible  ther  malice  men  may  see, 
And  ydolatres*  thei  were,  bothe  he  and  she. 
Both  were        God  fot  thet  ttespacis,  as  it  was  weel  seyn,  1716 

idolaters,  and        »  rr-         i  i    i  1         • 

God  first  pun-  Aitorshewed  be  trewe  prophesie, 

with  three'       Sente  thre  yeer  nouther  deuh  nor  reyn 

drouth!^  Vpon  the  erthe  ther  greyn  to  multeplie; 

Till  efft  ageyn,  bi  praier  off  Helie,  1720 

Holsum  watres  from  heuene  gan  descende. 
Which  gafF  hem  cause  ther  cursid  liff  tamende. 
But  Jezebel,  an  But  his  wifF,  that  cutsid  lezabel, 
woman,  slew  300  To  ech  thyng  hatful  which  that  was  dyuyne,        1724 

Md°es  Naboth'for  An  huwdted  prophetis  she  slouh  in  Israel, 
his  vineyard,     q^^^  g^^j  f^j.  ^j^^j  ^^*  ^^^di^  enclyne; 

And  she  also  slouh  Naboth  for  his  vyne, 
Thoruh  whos  outrage  &  fals  oppressiouw  1728 

Achab  was  brouht  to  his  confusiouw. 
Not  long  after  Off  his  enmyes  outraied  in  bataile, 
fatally  wounded  With  a  shatp  arwc  cauht  his  fatal  wouwde, 
was  devou"ed*    Till  al  his  blood  be  bledyng  dede  raile*  1732 

EHjfh^prophe-  Aboutc  his  chaar,  with  many  dropis  rouwde; 
sied,  That  the  woordis  wer  ful  trewe  fouwde 

Off  Helias,  which  told  hym,  as  it  stood, 
That  huMgri  houwdis  sholde  likke  his  blood.  1736 

and  Jezebel  fell  In  a  citc,  than  calHd  lezrael, 

out  of  a  tower.  i-x  /•  •  i  11 

Beware,  Princes,  Doun  irom  3  tout  loynyng  to  the  wall, 

of  false  counsel  rTr-.i  •jri  ll'JT  LI 

given  by  your    1  hc  said[ej  quecH,  callid  lezabel, 
wives.  ^^g  ouercast  &  hadde  a  dedli  fall.  1740 

Touchyng  these  myscheuys,  for  she  was  cause  of  all, 

1707.  his]  J)e  H  —  the]  his  R. 

1710.  al]  om.  R.       1714.   may  men  R. 

1715.  ydolastres  B,  ydolatreris  R.       1716.   ther]  his  H. 

1718.  neithir  dewe  ne  R.       1723.   that]  this  R. 

1726.  ne]  nat  B,  H  5  —  wold  not  R,  wolde  nat  J,  would  not  P. 

1731.  With]  OfF  R.       1732.   raile]  fayle  B,  H,  R,  J,  H  5,  R  3, 
V,  y  other  MSS.  and  prints. 

1737.  In]  And  in  R  —  than]  om.  R  —  J)at  was  callid  leziael  H. 

1738.  the]  a  R. 

BK.  Il] 

The  Story  of  Athaliah 


Bewar  ye  Pryncis,  remembryng  al  your  lyues, 
Teschewen  fals  counsail  youen  by  your  wyues. 


[Ofif  queene  Gatholia  for  Mr  tyrannye  slayn.]  ^ 

NEXT  to  Achab  in  ordre  dede  sue  1744 

Gatholia,  with  doolful  contenaunce 
Bochflj-  besechyng,  as  she  thouht  it  due,* 
Hir  sodeyn  fall  to  putte  in  remembraunce. 
Sours  and  chefFroote  ofFsorwe  and  myschaunce,  1748 
Vsurpacioun  and  off  fals  couetise, 
Lik  as  hir  story  heeraftir  shal  deuise. 

She  was  vpreised  be  fauour  in  thre  thynges; 

For  fader,  brother,  and  also  hir  husbonde  1752 

Wer  in  that  tyme  echon  crownyd  kynges, 

With  sceptre  and  suerd,  as  ye  shal  vndirstonde. 

Many  emprises  ther  daies  took  on  honde; 

And  how  Fortune  ther  hihnesse  dede  assaile, 

I  caste  shortli  to  make  rehersaile. 

She  fill  off  Fortune  in  thunhappi  boundis. 
First  whan  hir  fader  was  with  an  arwe  ded. 
His  blood  vplikked  with  cruel  hungri  houndis, 
A-boute  his  chaar[e]  rennyng  doun  ful  red. 
His  bodi  pale  lay,  who  that  took  heed, 
Lik  a  careyn,  naked  and  dispoiled. 
With  foul  blak  erthe  myd  the  feeld  isoiled. 

Cause  of  a-nother  onhappi  heuynesse 

And  ofF  hir  dedli  desolacioun, 

Was,  the  peeple  felli  dede  hem  dresse 

Off  Arabie  in  ther  rebellioun 

Ageyn  hir  husbonde,  off  entencioun 

To  robbe  his  tresour  to  ther  auauntage. 

And  his  richesse  be  outraious  pillage. 


Athaliah,  who 
followed  Ahab, 

was  fortunate 
in  that  her 
father,  brother 
and  husband 
were  kings; 

but  her  father 
was  slain,  and 
his  body  lay 
like  carrion, 
soiled  with 
earth  in  the 



Another  cause 
of  sorrow  to 
her  was  that 
the  people  of 
Arabia  rebelled 
against  her 

1741.  this  myscheefF  R.       1742.   al]  of  R. 

1744.  dede]  ther  did  R. 

1745.  Athalia  P  — ful  doolful  R. 

1746.  she  thouht  it  due]  hym  thouhte  due  B. 
1748.  sorwe  and  myschaunce]  myschefF  &  sorowe  R. 
1752.  hir]  om.  R.       1757.   caste]  purpose  R. 
1762.  good  heed  R.       1763.   careyn]  bareyn  R. 

1764.  foul]  ful  R,  H,  full  R  3  —  myd]  in  myddis   R,  amyd 

H,  R  3,  P  —  isoiled]  yspoiled  R. 

1766.  ofF]  om.  H.       1767.  Was]  Was  whan  R  —  did  felly  R. 

^MS.  J.  leaf  45  verso. 

250  Athaliah  slays  David's  Kin  [byl.  ii 

siet'^hl's^tub*"'^  Sumwe  off  his  meyne  thel  puttyn  in  prisouw  —    1772 
jects.   Her       ThcF  was  agcyii  hem  maked  no  difFence,  — 

husband  was        r,  j  i  •  i  i 

infected  by  the  bparccl  nouthcr  Cite,  Doruh  nor  touw, 
dieir  ^"         Slouh  man  and  child  be  sturdi  violence. 

Hir  lord  infect  with  sodeyn  pestilence,  1776 

Conceyued  fulli  bi  his  maladie, 

There  was  no  geyn  but  he  muste  [nedis]  deie. 

»"<^  *^= , , .      Afftir  his  deth,  most  wrechchid  and  odible, 

stench  of  his        _    .  '         i   •      i  i-      r  ii     i 

body  was  so      His  body  corupt,  his  bowelis  fell  doun;  1780 

awful  that  no-    r\{V  i  '  i  i  i        -i  i 

body  would      Urt  his  careyn  the  stench  was  so  horible, 

htsTepu"hre.    Their  infect  aboute  hym  enviroun 

With  so  gret  horrour  and  putrefacciouw, 

That  no  man  myhte  abiden  nor  endure  1784 

To  brynge  his  bodi  onto  sepulture. 

Her  third  mis-    Hir  thHdde  onhapp,  wheroff  she  was  ful  fayn 

fortune  was  the  ^^  i-        i   •         rr  -i 

death  of  her       1  hat  1<  ortune  list  hir  eitt  assaile, 

joram,  after      Made  hir  vncle,  kyng  loram,  to  be  slayn  1788 

slew  all  the       With  an  arwe,  as  he  fledde  in  bataile. 

soTs^o^b^"''''^  She  supposyng  it  gretli  sholde  auaile, 

sole  ruler  of      LJj^  ^  womau  most  furious  and  wood, 

Judea.  .  ^     ' 

She  off  kyng  Dauid  slouh  al  the  roial  blood.  1792 

Hir  purpos  was  to  gouerne  al  the  rewm,  [p.  no] 

Alone  hirsilfF  ta  dominaciouw. 

To  regne  in  luda  and  Jerusalem, 

This  Gatholia  be  vsurpacioun.  1796 

And  for  that  cause  in  hir  entenciouw. 

With  mortal  suerd  she  made  all  tho  to  fyne 

That  were  descendid  from  Dauid  doun  be  lyne. 

Except  joash,    Exccpt  ou  loas  thet  lefFte  non  alyue,  1800 

none  of  David's  Child  off  z  ycet,  sone  ofF  kyng  Ochosie, 

ai'iveTYnd^       Whom  losakcth,  the  story  doth  descryue, 

wTs^'saUd'hy    Off  verai  pite  cauhte  a  fantasie 

jehosheba.        'pj^g  child  to  sauc,  that  he  shal  nat  deie,  1804 

From  the  malice  off  Gatholia. 

And  she  was  wiff  to  bisshop  loiada. 

1773.  made  R.       1774-   noutherj]  neithir  R  —  nor]]  neithir  R. 

1776.  infect]  enfectid  H,  effect  R  —  sodeyn]  contagious  R. 

1778.  nedis]  om.  R,  J,  H  5.       1780.   fell]  fall  H. 

1783.  gret]  gre  H.       1784.   nor]  ne  R. 

1786.  onhapp]  vnhappy  R. 

1794.  ta]  to  haue  R. 

1796.  Gotholia  R,  Gathalia  H,  Athalia  P.       1798.   to]  om.  R. 

1802.  losabeth  R,  P.       1804.   shal]  shuld  R. 

1806.  And]  As  R. 

BK.  Il] 

Atbaliah  and  Joash 




She  and  this  bisshop,  with  hool  herte  &  enteer, 

Kepte  this  child  in  ful  secre  wise 

Withynne  the  temple  the  space  off  seuene  yeer, 

And  in  the  seuente,  the  story  doth  deuise, 

loiada  took  on  hym  this  emprise: 

Yonge  loas  withynne  a  certeyn  day 

Be  iust[e]  title  to  crowne  hym  yifF  he*  may. 

His  massageris  he  sendith  out  anon. 
Off  pryncis,  tribunes  gan  a  counseil  call, 
Off  preestis  eek,  and  leuytes  euerichon. 
And  whan  he  hadde  discured  to  hem  all 
Hool  his  entent,  thus  it  is  befall: 
Sworn  and  assentid,  as  it  was  sittyng, 
That  yonge  loas  shal  be  crownyd  kyng. 

"For  be  promys,  which  that  is  dyuyne," 

Quod  loiada,  "yiff  ye  taken  heede, 

God  hath  behestid  to  Dauid  and  his  lyne, 

And  assurid  onto  his  kynreede, 

In  Jerusalem  how  thei  shal  succeede; 

And  thouh  loas  be  yong  &  tendr<f  off  myht, 

He  to  the  crowne  hath  neuer-the-lesse  ryht. 

In  this  mateer  I  wil  nat  that  ye  slepe. 
But  to  shewe  your  trewe  deligence, 
On  foure  parties  the  temple  for  to  keepe. 
That  no  man  entre  be  no  violence; 
And  in  the  myddis,  be  roial  excellence," 
Quod  this  bisshop,  "no  man  shal  us  lette, 
On  loas  hed  a  crowne  for  to  sette." 

And  whan  ech  thyng  was  brouht  onto  the  poynt, 

His  hih  estat  tencrece  and  magnefie. 

The  peeple  anon,  whan  he  was  enoynt, 

"  Fiuat  rex!"  thei  began  to  crie. 

And  whan  Gatholia  gan  this  thyng  espie. 

For  veray  ire  and  the  sodeyn  wonder, 

Off  malencoli  hir  clothes  kitte  assonder. 

Ran  to  the  temple  and  gan  make  affray 

With  hir  meyne,  and  to  crie  loude, 

Bad  hem  go  slen,  and  make  no  delay,  1844 

vrife  of  Bishop 
Jehoiada.     For 
1S08  seven  years 
they  kept 
young  Joash  in 
the  temple. 
Then  Jehoiada 
called  a  coun- 
cil and  pro- 

1812   ^^  V     X. 
crown  Joash 


as  God  had 

promised  that 
David's  line 
should  rule  in 


1828  "^'°  n^*"  **i»ll 
prevent  our 
setting  a  crown 
on  his  head." 


\Mien  Joash 
was  anointed, 
1836  the  people  cried, 
"Long  live  the 
ran  to  the 
temple  in  a 
fury  and  bade 

1840  ^"  ™«i  *'?y 
^     the  young  lung. 

cret  H.  1813.  he]  she  B,  J,  R  3,  H. 
id]  &  to  R.  1824.  onto]  to  H.  i 
]  for  to  H.       1839.   tespye  H. 

secret  H 


1030.     tOj  i\jj    \.\j  xi.  lo^y.     Lcsijyc  n. 

1841.   kutte  R,  cutte  H.       1844.   go]  to  H. 

830.  On]  of  H. 

252  The  Death  of  Athaliah  [bk.  ii 

The  yonge  kyng,  in  al  the  haste  thel  coude: 

Hir  venym  hid  vnder  a  couert  cloude, 

Al  attonys  hir  purpos  to  recure, 

Be  sodeyn  mahce  she  gan  that  day  discure.  1848 

The  temple       Xhc  temple  kept,  entre  had  she  non, 

however  was        __.  ,         '■  .  *,  .  .  . 

well  guarded,     Fceplc  ordcyncd  awaityng  tor  the  nonys; 

and  she  was  a       i         :i!     i  i  r        i 

seized  by  the    And  OF*  she  myhte  any  rerthere  gon, 

8oon"aFtema"rds  Clenli  armed,  the  centurionys  1852 

put  to  death,    'pjjg  cruel  queen  assailed  al  attonys. 

And  off  hir  malice  to  writen  a  short  tale, 
Thei  slouh  hir  afftir  off  Cedron  in  the  vale. 

Lo,  this  is  the  Loo,  heer  the  eende  off  moordre  and  tirannye;      1856 

end  of  murder    tii  ^         rr  • 

and  tyranny!    Loo,  heer  the  eende  oit  vsurpaciouw; 

Noble  Princes,    y  1  i  i         rr  r   i 

beware  of  doing  Loo,  heer  the  eende  on  tais  conspiracye; 

fd°hlir8."^'^^    Loo,  heer  the  eende  off  fals  presumpciouw! 

Born  rihtful  heires,  wrongli  to  put  hem  douw.      i860 
O  noble  Pryncis,  thouh  God  hath  maad  you  strong. 
To  rihtful  heires  be  war  ye  do  no  wrong! 

^  Lenvoye. 

These  tragedies  ^  ■  ''HESE  tragedies  testatis  &  degrees, 

warned  by  God,  A     Fulli  declarcth  the  decepciouws  1864 

ml  from^heir  OfF  Fottunys  fals  mutabilitees 
""'•  Shewed  in  provyncis,  citees  and  eek  touns. 

Pryncis  onwarli  lost  ther  posessiouns. 
Which  from  ther  synnes,  in  no  maner  wise,  —      1868 
Hadde  off  God  warnyng,  and  list  nat  for  to  rise. 

Mighty  kings    Mihti  kynges  cast  doun  from  ther  sees, 

were  cast  down  -^  ,  ,  1,1 

unawares  from  Loste  ther  lyucs  and  ther  regeouns, 

j^robolm'for    Onwarli  throwe  from  ther  felicitees:  1872 

oppre°sk)nT  *'"'  leroboam  for  his  oppressiouws 

And  for  his  froward  fals  oblaciouns 

Doon  to  ydoles,  his  story  doth  deuise. 

Had  off  God  warnyng,  &  list  nat  for  to  rise.         1876 

1846]   om.  R.       1851.  or]  ar  B. 

1855.   Thei]  The  R  —  ofF]  corrected  to  on  or  at  H. 

i860,   to]  om.  H,  R  3. 

1863.  These  tragedies  testatis]  This  tragedie  the  astatis  R  — 

testatis]  to  estates  P. 
1865.   Fortunys]  fortune  R. 
1869.  aryse  R. 

BK.  Il] 

An  Envoy  on  evil  Princes 


Achab  also  hadde  gret  aduersitees 
Thoruh  fals  counsail  and  exortaciouns 
Off  lezabel,  roote  off  iniquitees; 
Dede  to  his  peeple  gret  extorsiouns: 
She  slouh  prophetis,  Godis  champiouns. 
Bothe  he  and  she,  most  cursid  in  ther  guise. 
Had  off  God  wamyng,  &  list  nat  for  to  rise. 

Gathalia  with  hir  duplicitees 

And  conspired  fals  intrusiouns 

Slouh  Dauides  seed,  tentre  ther  dignitees. 

And  to  possede  ther  domynaciouns; 

But  for  hir  hatful  fals  collusiouns 

Onwarly  slayn,  for  hir  gret  couetise, 

Had  off  God  wamyng,  &  list  nat  for  to  rise. 

Pryncis  remembreth  in  your  prosperitees. 
And  seeth  afom  in  your  discreciouns. 
Wrong  clymbyng  up  of  statis  or  degrees, 
Outher  be  moordre  or  be  fals  tresouns, 
Axeth  a  fall  for  ther  fynal  guerdouns; 
Namli  off  them  that  the  Lord  despise. 
And  for  his  wamyng  list  nat  for  to  rise. 

[p.  Ill] 


Ahab  for  hit 
extortioos,  and 
his  abominable 
wife  Jezcbd, 
who  slew  all 
the  prophets: 

for  murdering 
David's  de- 

Princes,  remem- 
ber in  your 
1892  prosperity  that 
wrongful  usur- 
pation either  by 
murder  or 
treason  invites 
a  faU. 


[^ow  Dido  queen  of  Cartage  slouh  hirsilf  for  con- 
seniacion  of  hir  chastite.]  ^ 

NOW  must  I  putte  my  reud[e]  stile  in  pres. 
To  queen  Dido  make  my  passage: 
Hir  lord  Siche  was  preest  to  Hercules, 
Hir  fadir  Belus,  falle  into  gret  age, 
Kyng  off  Tire,  and  she  queen  off  Cartage. 
And  it  is  rad  in  bookis  that  be  trewe. 
How  first  in  Tire  was  founde  purpil  hewe. 

Dido,  queen  of 
Carthage,  was 
the  wife  of 
Sychseus;  her 
1900  father,  Belus, 
king  of  Tyre, 
invented  purple. 


1877.  This  stanza  is  omitted  in  R.       1878.   cownseiles  H. 

1880.  his]  hir  H.       1884.  Athalia  R,  H,  P,  Athalya  H  5. 

1885.  intrusiouns]  entenciouns  H. 

1886.  Dau>-this  R,  H  —  tentre]  tencres  H. 

1890.  arv'se  R. 

1891.  in]  om.  H.       1893.   statis  or]  estatis  &  R. 
1894.  moordre]  word  R.       1895.   ther]  the  H. 
1897.  his]  no  R. 

1900.  Siche]  Sicheus  H,  P. 

1901.  Belus]  Bolas  R. 

^  MS.  J.  leaf  46  verso. 

254  Dido,  ^ueen  of  Carthage  [bk.  ii 

Cadi^s  in-       Cadmus  fond  first  lettres  for  to  write, 
alphabet,  and    Gaff  hcm  to  Grckis,  as  maad  is  menciouw, 
discovered        Whos  brothcr  Fenix,  as  clerkis  eek  endite, 
vermfiion.         Fond  first  the  colour  off  vermelioun.  1908 

And  off  Cartage,  the  famous  myhti  toun, 
This  said[e]  Dido,  hir  story  doth  expresse, 
How  she  was  bothe  queen  and  fouwderesse; 

Dido's  husband,  But  hir  husbonde  was  cheeff  lord  and  sire,  1912 

slain  for' his      CalUd  Sicheus,  ful  famous  off  renouw, 

brother  Pyg"    Off  this  noble  cite  named  Tire, 

ma  ion,  Hadde  gret  tresour  &  gret  possessions. 

And  for  envie  kyng  Pigmaliouw,  1916 

Brother  to  Dido,  this  Siche  slouh  in  deede. 
Off  fals  entent  his  richesse  to  posseede. 

and  Dido  in      Dido  this  slauhttc  took  greuousli  at  herte, 

her  grief  fled  .       "  . 

from  Tyre  with  Sote  complcynyng  this  onhappi  chauwce,  1920 

her  husband's      /-^  t  ii  tpi  i 

treasure.  Caste  she  woldc,  yiit  she  myhte  asterte, 

Fleen  out  off  Tire  and  hirsilff  auaunce, 
With  al  the  tresour  and  the  habundauwce 
Behynde  lefft  whan  hir  lord  was  ded,  1924 

Hir  shippis  entryng,  went  away  for  dreed. 

Knowing  the     She  knew  &  dradde  the  gredi  auarice 

Pygmalion,       Off  hir  brother,  kyng  Pigmaliouw, 

And  how  that  hatful  onstauwchable  vice  1928 

Was  ground  and  roote  &  cheeff  occasioun 

Whi  that  hir  lord  was  slay[e]n  in  that  toun. 

For  whom  ful  offte  she  cried  welaway, 

Whos  deth  was  cause  whi  she  fledde  away.  1932 

she  felt  certain  She  hadde  also  this  opynyouw, 

mained  he        Which  causcd  most  hir  hertli  heuynesse, 

injure  her.  °     That  sithe  hir  brothir,  kyng  Pigmalioun, 

Hadde  slayn  hir  lord  for  his  gret  richesse,  1936 

Yiff  she  abod,  that  he  wolde  hym  dresse, 

Parcel  for  malice,  parcel  for  couetise, 

To  haue  hir  tresour  sum  tresoun  to  practise. 

1910.  hir]  the  R. 

1914.  named]  callid  J,  was  callid  H. 

1919.  greuousH]  gretly  R.       1920.   this]  his  R. 

1923.  and]  &  al  R.       1924.   whan]  whanne  whan  R. 

1928.  onstaunchable]  vnstable  R,  vnchaungeable  H. 

1932.  whi]  whi  J)at  R. 

1935.  sithe]  sih  R. 

BK.  Il] 

Dido  founds  Carthage 

And  for  teschewe  his  malice  and  tresoun, 
For  hir  nauye  she  maketh  ordenaunce 
Bauys  off  them,  in  whom,  as  be  resoun, 
She  sholde  off  riht  sette  hir  affiaunce. 
And  thei  ful  redy  hir  to  do  plesaunce, 
Be  on  assent,  for  nothyng  wolde  faile, 
With  faire  Dido  out  off  that  lond  to  saile. 

In  Cipre  first  was  hir  arryuaile; 

And  ther  she  fond[e]  be  a  ryuer  side, 

Off  yong[e]  maidnes,  with  ful  riche  apparaile, 

Sexti  and  ten  in  the  same  tide. 

Which  in  the  temple  off  Venus  dede  abide, 

Afftir  the  custom,  as  I  can  reporte, 

Off  Cipriens  straungeris  to  disporte. 

And  in  ther  moste  feithful  humble  wise, 

Afftir  the  rihtis  off  Cipre  the  cuntre. 

Onto  Venus  ech  day  do  sacrefise, 

Them  to  conserue  in  ther  virgenyte, 

Duryng  ther  liff  to  lyue  in  chastite, 

Neuer  to  been  ioyned  in  mariage; 

And  with  queen  Dido  thei  went*  to  Cartage. 

In  ther  passage  fill  a  gret  meracle, 

As  Seruyus  maketh  mencioun; 

For  Dido  took  off  luno  this  oracle, 

Outher  baperv'ng  or  bi  auisioun,* 

Off  Cartage  to  beelde  that  myhti  toun. 

And  at  reuerence  off  that  gret  goddesse, 

She  to  tho  parties  faste  gan  hir  dresse,  * 

The  said[e]  cite  statli  for  to  founde. 

And  hir  werkmen,  as  thei  therthe  souhte. 

An  oxes  hed  off  auenture  thei  founde; 

And  to  queen  Dido  anon  the  hed  thei  brouhte, 

Menyng  wheroff  to  serchyn  out  she*  thouhte. 

And  hir  clerkis  in  ther  dj-uynaile, 

Tolde  it  was  tokne  off  seruage  &  trauaile. 

1942,   Bau3-s]  Be  a  devis  R.       1944.   hir]  for  R. 

1954.   in  ther]  the  H.       1958.   ther]  the  R. 

i960,   went]  wenten  B,  R,  J  —  to]  vn  to  H. 

1962.   maketh]  make  R. 

1964.   bi  appenng  J,  R,  H,  P,  R  3,  H  5  —  or]  outhir  H,  H  5  — 

auisioun]  dyuysion  R,  aduisioun  J,  P,  a  vision  R  3  —  or  bi 

auisioun]  outher  bauysioun  B. 

1971.  anon  the  hed]  the  hed  anon  R,  H,  H  5. 

1972.  Menyng]  Mevj-ng  R  —  she]  thei  B,  J. 

1940  ^  °°  ^^^  *'^" 
vice  of  her 
nobles  she 
sailed  away 
from  Tyre, 


and  £rst  ar- 
rived in  Cy- 
1948  prus,  where  she 
found  seventy 
maidens,  priest- 
esses of  the 


of  Venus, 
vowed  to 

chastity,  who 


[p.    112]  When  Carthage 
was  founded 
a  great  miracle 
occurred,  as 
Scrvius  tells: 




Dido's  work- 
men unearthed 
the  head  of 
an  ox  while 
digging,  and 
her  wise  men 
told  her  that 
it  was  a  token 
of  servitude. 

256  Dido  founds  Carthage  [bk.  ii 

For  which  she  lefFte  to  beeldyn  [in]  that  place, 

And  gan  remeue,  as  she  ouhte  off  riht;  1976 

And  fro  then[ne]s  but  a  litil  space 

A  soil  she  fond  ful  delectable  off  siht; 

And  as  hir  werkmen  with  ther  ful[le]  myht 

The  ground  gan  serche,  anon,  or  thei  took  heed,  1980 

The  stori  tellith,  thei  fond  an  horsis  hed. 

So  she  began     And  bi  expownyng  off  hir  dyuynours, 

and  found  a      Fond  [that]  this  beeste  gretli  myhte  auaile 

horse's  head,        ^^  •      o  i     •  « 

which  was  a     Unto  ptyncis  &  myhti  conquerours,  1984 

/Sid  tliere  "she   Necessatie*  in  werre  and  in  bataile. 

built  Carthage,  ^j^j  f^^  ^^  ^j}^^  j^jj.  noblessc  sholde  assaile, 

Cartage  she  bilte,  off  so  gret  excellence, 

Geyn  all  enmyes  to  stonden  at  diffence.  1988 

Some  books  say  Suwme  bookis  declare  and  specefie, 
chased  as  much  Dido  dcde  as  moche  lond  purchace 

land  as  could        a  i  •  11 

be  surrounded    As  a  skyn  in  tound  myhte  ocupie 

by  an  ox's  skin.Q^f  ^^  ^^^^  ^j^^^.^^^  ^^  j^^^jj^  ^  pj^^^.  ^^^^ 

The  ground  cumpasid  took  a  large  space. 
Which  strongli  bilt,  thus  it  is  befall, 
Afftir  the  skyn  men  dede  it  Birsa  call. 

and  when  the    And  whan  this  cite  myhtili  was  wallid,  1996 

city  was  walled    ^  rr  •  i  i        i  i 

it  took  the       AJttir  a  skyn,  wrouht  be  good  curray, 
an?  Birsa"fw/  The  name  take,  Carta  it  was  callid,  — 
the  skin.  Lethir  off  Birsa,  pleynli  this  no  nay. 

Took  eek  his  name  duryng  many  a  day, —  2000 

Carta  and  Birsa  knet  in  ther  language, 
As  moch  to  seyne  as  this  woord  Cartage. 

Mrica"fnd''was  And  in  Afftik  stant  the  teritorie 

built  in  honour  Whet  she  bilte  this  cite  delectable,  2004 

of  Juno,  m  the  ,     ,    •      •      i         i  i   • 

time  of  David,  jh  ouwded  It  m  laude  and  m  memorie 

Off  myhti  luno,  the  goddesse  honourable. 
The  cite  wallid,  with  tour[e]s  strong  &  stable, 

1975.  in]  om.  H,  R  3,  J,  H  5. 

1977.  but]  om.  H.       1978.   delitable  R. 

1981.  horsis]  horse  H,  R  3,  P,  hors  J,  H  5. 

1983.  that]  om.  J,  H,  P,  H  5,  R3  —  Fond]  &  H. 

1985.  Necessaire  B.       1988.   Ageyn  R. 

1993.  ful  large  R.       1994.   bilt]  belte  R  3,  bylded  P. 

1997.  curray]  coraie  R,  Corray  H. 

1999.  pleinli  this  no  nay]  this  is  no  way  R. 

2000.  a]  om.  R.       2004.   dehtable  R. 
2005.  2nd  in]  om.  H. 

2007.  The]  This  R. 

BK.  Il] 

Dido  refuses  to  marry  again 


Tyme  ofF  kyng  Dauid  myd  the  fourte  age, 
As  I  seide  erst,  callid  it  Cartage. 

With  gret  worshepe  she  regned  in  that  toun, 

Euer  off  purpos  to  lyue  in  chastite; 

And  round  aboute  floured  the  renoun 

Off  hir  prudence  and  hir  honeste. 

Til  the  report  off  hir  famous  beute 

Cam  to  the  eris,  which  gladli  wil  nat  hide, 

Off  a  kyng  that  duellid  ther  beside. 

Off  Musitan[e]s  he  was  lord  and  sire. 
As  poetis  pleynii  list  descryue, 
Which  in  his  herte  gretli  gan  desire 
The  queen  Dido  bi  hir  assent  to  wyue. 
Onto  hir  grace  yiff  he  myhte  aryue. 
But  for  she  hadde  auowed  chastite, 
She  neuer  caste  maried  for  to  be. 

The  kyng  supprised  with  loue  in  his  corage 
For  hir  wisdam  and  hir  gret  beute, 
Sent[e]  for  the  pryncis  off  Cartage, 
On  this  mater  to  han  a  gret  trete. 
To  condescende,  yiff  it  myhte  be, 
Lich  his  desir,  in  al  ther  beste  entent, 
Doon  ther  deuer  to  make  hir  to  consent. 

With  his  request  he  gan  hem  eek  manace, 
Yiff  he  failed  off  his  entencioun, 
Lik  his  desir  to  stonden  in  hir  grace, 
Saide  he  wolde  been  enmy  to  ther  toun, 
Tordeyne  be  force  for  ther  destruccioun. 
Nat  fulli  sobre,  nor  fulli  in  a  rage, 
This  was  to  hem  pleynii  his  language. 

But  for  thei  knew  hir  gret[e]  stedfastnesse, 
And  hir  herte  veray  inmutable, 
Thei  were  affer[e]d  any  woord  texpresse. 
Lest  ther  answere  wer  nat  acceptable 
To  his  hihnesse,  for  he  was  nat  tretable. 
Eek  in  ther  conceit  thei  gan  also  recorde. 
To  his  desir  the  queen  wold  nat  accorde. 

2009.   it]  is  R,  H. 

2017.   Musicans  H,  R  3.       2020.   The]  To  R. 

2026.   ofTjofalR.       2031.   eek]  owt.  R. 

2033.   stoden  R.       2034.   he]  that  he  R  —  ther]  the  R. 

2035.    be  force]  repeated  in  R  —  for]  to  H,  R  3. 

2039.   immutable  R,  H.       2042.   he  was]  thei  wem  R. 


Dido  reigned  in 
great  prosperity 
until  a  neigh- 
bouring king 
2012  heard  of  her 


and  wanted  to 
have  her  for 
his  wife,  al- 
though she  had 
vowed  ne%'er 
again  to  marry. 


He  sent  for  the 
princes  of  Car- 
thage to  treat 
of  a  marriage 


and  threatened 
to  use  force  if 
2032  he  failed  in  his 


The  princes  of 
Carthage  knew 
that  Dido 
would  never 
2040  break  her  vow. 



Dido  will  yield  to  no  Threats 

[bk.  II 

fixed  in  her 

and  told  her 

so  they  tem-     With  good  auys  an  answere  thei  purueie         [p.  113] 

Dido  remained  To  his  purpos  in  parti  fauorablc, 

AfFerd  he  wolde  ther  noble  touw  werreie. 

Or  off  disdeyn  vpon  hem  be  vengable.  2048 

But  queen  Dido,  in  hir  entent  ay  stable, 

Caste  she  wolde,  what-euer  thei  hir  tolde, 

Hir  chast  auow  feithfulli  to  holde. 

She  set  a-side  off  this  cruel  kyng 

His  fell  manacis  &  his  woordis  grete; 

And  to  hir  pryncis  for  ther  consentyng, 

Which  stood  in  feer  off  that  he  dede  hem  threte, 

She  onto  hem  gaff  a  maner  hete, 

For  thei  wer  bold  tattempten  or  tattame 

To  trete  off  mater  rebouwdyng  to  hir  shame. 

"Nay,  rather  deie,"  quod  she,  "than  tassente 
grant  the  kiirg''sTo  his  dcsits,  which  thyng  God  forbeede, 

demand.  /--.      r  i  rr  \ 

Ur  iro  the  centre  oit  my  chast  entente 

For  to  remeue,  outher  in  thouht  or  deede,  — 

Which  were  disclauwdre  to  al  womanheede, 

To  condescende  for  any  manacyng 

To  breke  my  vow  for  plesauwce  off  a  kyng. 

Touchyng  manacis  maad  to  this  cite. 

For  to  destroie  it  with  his  gret[e]  myht, 

Withoute  cause  or  title  off  equite 

To  grouwden  hym  a  quarell  ageyn  riht, 

Onli  for  he  is  blyndid  in  his  siht 

With  froward  lust  my  chast  auow  tassaile, 

Beth  riht  weel  seur  how  he  theroff  shal  faile. 

that  she  would 
rather  die  than 

"Be  sure,  he 
will  fail  in 
spite  of  his 







"If  you  were 
men,  you 

Yiff  ye  wer  bold  and  manli  off  corage, 
wouiYnot  con-  For  comouw  profit  your  cite  to  defende, 

descend  to   treat  »       i  •    i  i      i  •         •    ■ 

with  him.         And  to  withstonde  his  vicious  outrage, 

To  trete  with  hym  ye  wold  nat  condescende.        2076 
But  myn  entent,  platli  to  comprehende, 
Wher*  it  to  you  be  ioie  or  displesauwce, 
In  my  promys  shal  be  no  variaunce. 

2057.  tattame]  attame  H.      2058.   rebowndith  H. 

2060.  his]  hir  R. 

2061.  centre]  contre  H,  tentre  J,  P;  in  B  the  c  in  centre  is  very 
much  like  a  t. 

2066.   manacyng  R.       2067.   with]  thoruh  R  —  gret]  om.   R. 
2070.   blynde  R.       2072.    how]  om.  R. 
2075.   his]  your  R. 

2078.  Wher]  Whethir  B,  H,  J,  P,  R  3  —  it]  it  be  J,  P  — be] 
om.  R. 



Dido  asks  for  Three  Months*  Time 


My  lord  Sicheus,  the  which,  alas,  is  ded 
Onto  the  world[e],  who[-so]  list  aduerte; 
Trustith  riht  weel,  for  manacyng  nor  dreed, 
That  he  shal  neuer  deien  in  myn  herte, 
Nor  ye  shal  neuer  myn  auow  peruerte. 
Thus  auysed,  whil  that  I  stonde  fre, 
Queen  off"  Cartage  to  gouerne  this  cite. 

Myn  hasti  answere,  I  pray  you  nat  disdeyne. 

But  that  ye  list  to  gyue  me  liberte. 

With  your  support  that  I  may  atteyne 

To  haue  a  space  graunted  onto  me: 

This  to  meene,  the  space  off  monthes  thre, 

Mi  lordis  will  taccomplissh*  ofFentent, 

Which  he  whilom  made  in  his  testament." 

Vnder  colour  to  hir  auauntage 

She  took  this  space,  bookis  specefie. 

That  she  myhte  hir  cite  off  Cartage 

The  mene  while  strongli  fortefie 

Ageyn  hir  enmyes,  that  for  no  slogardrie 

Off  them  that  wolde  hir  hih  estat  confounde, 

Onpurueied  hir  cite  nat  be*  founde. 

Whan  thre  monthes  passed  were  &  gon, 
She  afFtir  wolde,  for  hir  hertli  plesaunce, 
With  sundri  rihtes,  many  mo  than  on. 
To  all  hir  goddis  doon  sum  obseruaunce. 
For  a  special  synguler  remembraunce 
Off  hym  that  was,  as  folk  shal  vnderstonde. 
Whilom  hir  lord  &  best  beloued  husbonde. 

And  mor  texalte  his  glorie*  &  his  honour, 

Heeld  his  exequies,  be  due  reuerence, 

Off  al  Cartage  in  the  hiest  tour. 

With  brennyng  fir,  fumys  and  encence, 

Hir  pryncis  all  beyng  in  presence; 

To  which  she  gan  declare  in  compleynyng, 

Hir  dedli  sorwe,  doun  from  hir  tour  lokyng. 

2080  "Fo"-  rr.y  part, 
I  will  keep  my 
promise  whether 
it  please  you  or 
not,  so  long  as 
I  am  Queer,  of 


"Give  me  three 
months  in 
2088  which  to  exe- 
cute my  hus- 
band's testa- 


In  the  mean- 
time she  for- 
tified her  city. 


After  the  three 
months  had 
passed,  she  did 
observance  to 
the  gods 


2108  '■^^  held  the 
funeral  rites  of 
her  husband 
with  fire  and  in- 
cense in  thehigh- 
est  tower  and 
bade  farewell  to 
her  friends, 
praying  them  to 
report  after  her 
death,  that  Dido 
was  married  but 

2080.  the]om.  R.       2081.   who  so]  who  H,  J,  P,  H  5,  R  3. 

2084.  myn  auow]  my  vowe  R.       2088.   list]  lust  R. 

2092.  taccomplisshen  B.       2093.   whilom]  sumtyme  R. 

2098.  that]  om.  R  —  slugardie  R,  slugardye  H. 

2099.  hih]  om.  R.       2100.   be]  ne  B,  H,  R',  H  5. 
2101.  thre]  the  R.       2107.   Whilom]  Suwityme  R. 

2108.  1st  his]  hir  B,  P  and  MSS.  except  H  5  —  gloire  B  — 

2nd  his]  om.  R,  R  3,  hir  H,  her  P. 


Dido  dies  rather  than  marry  again 

Cbk.  II 

"Go  tell  the 
king  that  I  am 
dead;    his 
threats  are  in 

"Let  him  go 
el  sewhere 
and  choose 

"Farweel  my  freendis,  farweel  for  euermore! 

Onto  my  lord  myn  husbonde  I  mut  gon,  21 16 

To  hym,  I  meene,  that  was  my  lord  off  yore: 

For  off  husbondis,  God  wot,  I  ha[ue]  but  on; 

Praieng  you  to  reporte  euerichon 

AfFtir  my  deth,  [how]  Dido  off  Cartage  2120 

I-ioyned  was  but  onys  in  manage. 

Seith  to  the  kyng,  which  hath*  you  manacid, 

Mi  chast[e]  beute  that  he  wolde  assaile,  — 

Go,  tellith  hym  how  that  I  am  pacid,  2124 

And  off  his  purpos  how  that  he  shal  faile. 

His  manacyng  shal  hym  nat  auaile. 

And  seith  how  Dido  deied  for  the  nonys, 

For  she  nat  wolde  be  weddid  mor  than  onys.        2128 

Leuere  I  haue  my  liff  as  now  to  lese,  [p.  114] 

Rathere  than  soile  my  widwes  chastite. 

Lat  hym  go  ferthere,  sum  other  for  to  chese;  * 

For  in  such  cas  he  shal  nat  speede  off  me.  2132 

And  with  the  tresour  off  myn  honeste, 

Which  I  ha[ue]  treuli  obserued  al  my  lyue, 

I  will  departe  out  off  this  world  now  blyue." 

And  with  that  And  iuto  fir,  that  brente  cleer  and  briht,  2136 

she  plunged  a      ^,  .      .  . 

knife  into  her    bhe  tan  m  hastc,  there  is  no  mor  to  seyne, 

heart  and  ran     p       rr      ' ^\         i         rr  •  "l.^ 

into  the  fire,     bauff  With  a  kuyit  in  euery  manys  siht 
Ful  sodenli  she  roff  hir  herte  on  tweyne. 
Whos  pitous  deth  the  cite  gan  compleyne,  2140 

Sore  wepyng  for  wonder  and  for  routhe. 
In  a  woman  to  fynde  so  gret  a  trouthe. 

After  her  death  Afftir  hir  dcth  thei  dede  ther  besynesse 

they  worshipped  r^.      ,      ,  j  j   i      i  c     ^      C  II 

her  as  a  god-     lo  holdc  and  halwe  a  teste  lunerall;  2144 

and  all  widow!' Worshcpcd  hir  lik  a  chast  goddesse, 
wept  for  her     ^^j  j^j^.  comendyn[g]  in  especiall 

To  heuenli  goddis,  &  goddis  infernall. 

And  widwes  all[e],  in  ther  clothes  blake,  2148 

At  this  feste  weptyn  for  hir  sake. 

2120.  how]  om.  J,  P,  R  3,  H  5. 

2122.  hath]  that  B,  OOT.  J.      2124.  Go]  And  R. 

213 1,  ferthere]  forth  R. 

2132.  Speede]  be  spedd  H. 

2135.  will]  wolde  R  —  out  departe  R. 

2136.  fir]  ^e  fire  H. 

2139.  on]tnR.      2142.    a]  om.  R. 

2147.  infernall]  fernall  R. 

BK.  ii]  Lydgates  Praise  of  Dido  261 

Touchyng  Dido  lat  ther  be  no  strifF:  owd^c^** 

Thouh  that  she  be  accusid  off  Guide,  Dido  of  mis- 

Afftir  Bochas  I  wrot  hir  chast[e]  lifF,  2152  self  with 
And  the  contrary  I  ha[ue]  set  a-side;  foQow*'Bo^has 

For  me  thouhte  it  was  bet  tabide  h«  chasw  °ife 

On  hir  goodnesse,  than  thyng  reherse  in  deede,  °^y- 

Which  myhte  resowne  ageyn  hir  womanheede.  2156 

To  Eneas  thouh  she  was  fauourable,  it  seems  tome 

_,_,.,,,.  that  It  IS  better 

1  o  Ytaiie  makyng  his  passage,  ^^JT^^  °h  '^" 

Al  that  she  dede,  [it]  was  comendable,  of  her  failings, 

TT  ^  l_      /^      ^  ,     and  besides  she 

Hym  to  receyue  comyng  be  Cartage;  2160  did  nothing  but 
Thouh  sum  folk  wern  large  off  ther  language,  p^iLwo^y. 

Amysse  texpowne  be  report,  or  texpresse  better*to  speak 

Thyng  doon  to  hym  onli  off  gentilesse.  '■^eii  than  evil 

Ther  shal  for  me  be  maad  no  rehersaile  2164 

But  as  I  fynde  wretyn  in  Bochas; 

For  to  sey  weel  may  moch[e]  more  auaile 

Than  froward  speche,  in  many  dyuers  cas. 

But  al  Cartage  offte  seide  alas,  2168 

Hir  deth  compleynyng  thoruhout  ther  cite, 

Which  slouh  hirselff  tobserue  hir  chastite. 

[^  LenvoyO 

OFAIR[E]  Dido,  most  stable  in  thi  constau/ice,  F?ir  ^^P\-  , 
Queen  of  Cartage,  merowr  ofFhih  noblesse,  2172  noblesse,  you 

T>  '  1       '    ^    o  III  died  illamining 

Kegnyng  m  glorie'  &  vertuous  habundaunce,  aii  widowi  with 

Callid  in  thi  tyme  cheefF  sours  off  gentilesse,  $^t''  °' 

In  whom  was  neuer  founde  doubilnesse. 

Ay  off  on  herte;   and  so  thou  dedest  fyne,  2176 

With  liht  off  trouthe  alle  widwes  tenlumyne. 

Chast  and  onchaungid  in  thi  perseueraunce.  Chaste  and 

•      J.  iiri'         !•  1  steadfast  in 

And  mmutable  tounde  m  thi  goodnesse,  your  pcrsever- 

Which  neuer  thouhtest  vpon  variaunce,  2180  ^'nMs^was 

Force  and  prudence  wardeyns  off  thi  faimesse, 

I  ha[ue]  no  language  thi  vertues  to  expresse, 

Be  newe  report  so  cleerli  thei  [do]  shyne; 

With  liht  off  trouthe  alle  widwes  tenlumyne.         2184 


2151.  that]om.  H.       2152.  wryte  R,  write  H. 

2159.  it]  om.  J.       2162.   report]  record  H.       2173.   gloire  B. 

2179.  immutable  R,  H,  J. 

2183.  thei]  to  H  —  do]  om.  J,  P,  H  5,  R  3. 

262  An  Envoy  to  Widows  hy  John  Lydgate  [bk.  ii 

Lode-star  of      Q  lodc-sterre  ofF  al  good  gouernauwce, 

good  behaviour,    .n'.  |  .,.," 

bridling  your     All  VICIOUS  lustis  DC  wisdam  to  reprcssc; 
soberness,         Thi  grcnc  youth  flouryng  with  al  plesauwce, 

Thou  di[d]st  it  bridle  with  vertuous  sobirnesse.     2188 
Diane  demened  so  chastli  thi  clennesse, 
Whil  thou  wer  soul[e],  pleynli  to  termyne, 
With  liht  off  trouthe  alle  widwes  tenlumyne. 
and  finally        Xhi  famous  bouwtc  to  put  in  remembraunce,        2192 
innocent  purity  Thou  slouh  thisclfF  ofF  innoccnt  peurnesse, 
sureness  were     Lest  thi  scumcsse  wcr  hangid  in  ballauwce, 
jeopardise  !       q^  svlq)^  as  cast  them  thi  chastite  toppresse  — 

Deth  was  inouh  to  here  therofF  witnesse  —  2196 

Causyng  thi  beute  to  al*  clennesse  tenclyne, 
With  liht  off  vertu  alle  widwes  tenlumyne, 

^  Lenvoye  direct  to  wydowis  of  the  translatour.^ 

Noble  matrons,  "VTOBLE  matrones,  which  han  al  suffisaunce 

such  folly  as      JL ^    OfF  womawhed,  yowf  wittis  doth  vp  dtessc,  2200 

that  of  Dido        tt  i  t->  i*  i   •        i 

enter  your        How  that  T  oFtune  list  to  tumt  hit  chauwcc, 
hearts.  Bcth  nat  to  rakell  ofF  sodeyn  hastynesse, 

But  ay  prouideth*  in  your  stabilnesse, 
That  no  such  foly  entre  your  corage  2204 

To  folwe  Dido,  that  was  queen  ofF  Cartage. 
To  slay  your-    With  hir  maneHs  hath  non  aqueyntaunce,      [p.  iii;] 

selves  were  too  »        -/  '  i.*  ^j 

great  a  penance!  Put  out  ofF  myndc  such  foltissh  wilfulnessc: 

May  God  bless  >-r«        i  •^cr^    i  i 

and  preserve      1  o  slen  yoursiltr[eJ  wcF  a  grct  penaunce!  2208 

your  raiity!      q^j  ^^  j^j^  gj.^^,g  defendc  you  and  blesse, 

And  preserue  your  variant  brotilnesse, 
That  your  trouthe  falle  in  non  outrage, 
To  folwe  Dido,  that  was  queen  ofF  Cartage!  2212 

Pretend  all       With  couett  colour  and  sobre  contenaunce, 
make  for  stead- OfF  feithful  menyug  ptetendith  a  liknesse, 
doVTfoiiow      Countirfetith  in  speche  and  daliaunce 
Dido's  example.  ^|jg  thyngc  that  sowneth  unto*  stedfastnesse;      2216 

2188.  Thou]  Thi  R  —  didst]  dist  J,  did  R  3,  dost  P. 

2189.  demened]  demede  R.       2193.   pournesse  H. 
2197.   to  al]  tal  B.       2198.     vertu]  trewth  R. 
2201.   to]  om.  H. 

2203.   preuideth  B,  J,  provyd  R  3,  prouide  P. 

2206.   non]  nouht  R.       2210.    brotilnesse]  Doublenesse  R. 

2213.    The  first  line  of  the  following  stanza  is  misplaced  before 

2213  in  H. 
2216.   unto]  into  B,  R,  J,  P,  H  5. 

^  The  same  heading  is  in  MS.  J.  leaf  47  d. 

BK.  ii3  Sardanapalus,  last  King  of  Assyria  263 

Off  prudence  be  gret  auisenesse* 
YoursilfF  restreyneth,  yong  &  old  off  age, 
To  folwe  Dido,  that  was  queen  off  Cartage. 

Lat  al  your  port  be  void  off  displesauwce;  2220  ^'ever  be  uq- 

r-T'  r  I'll  I  provided  with 

10  gete  rreendis  doth  your  besynesse,  lovers;  there  is 

And  beth  neuer  withoute  purueiaunce :  one'ldone?  "* 

So  shal  ye  best  encresen  in  richesse,  — 

In  on  alone  may  be  no  sekirnesse;  2224 

To  your  herte  beth  dyuers  off  language, 

Contraire  to  Dido,  that  was  queen  off  Cartage. 

Hold  your  seruauntis  vnder  obeisauwce,  Hold  a  tight 

Yi  iiriri  1  '^"*  *°"  bndle 

L-at  nem  noutner  ha[uej  rredam  nor  largesse,         2228  them  with  hu- 
But  vnder  daunger  doon  ther  obseruaunce.  when'^'the"  ser- 

Dauwtith  ther  pride,  them  bridlyng  with  lownesse,      nan^Vs^s" 
And  whan  the  serpent  off  newfangilnesse  ^mk^tlmm 

Assailith  you,  doth  your  auauntage, —  ,        2232  ^3°'J^°  ^f 

Contraire  to  Dido,  that  was  queen  off  Cartage.  Carthage. 

[How  vicious  Sardanapalle  kyng  of  Assirie  brent 
himsilff  and  his  tresour.]  ^ 

OFF  Assirie  to  rekne  kynges  alle  Sardanapaius, 

Which  hadde  that  lond  vnder  subieccioun,         As^ria,  came 
Last  off  echon  was  Sardanapalle,  2236  aTuSy^ainer 

Most  femynyne  off  condicioun,  ^°  ^«^*- 

Wherfore  Fortune  hath  hym  throwe  doun: 
And  compleynyng,  most  ougli  off  maneere, 
Next  afftir  Dido  to  Bochas  dede  appeere.  2240 

To  vicious  lust  his  liff  he  dede  enclyne;  He  was  vicious 

Mong  Assiriens,  whan  he  his  regne  gan,  L  effemSa^te 

Off  fals  vsage  he  was  so  femynyne,  amonfe'^omen 

That  among  women  vppon  the  rokke  he  span,      2244  tTe'^pfe'ince  of 
In  ther  habite  disguisid  from  a  man.  *^  ™^°- 

And  off  froward  flesshli  insolence. 
Off  alle  men  he  fledde  the  presence. 

First  this  kyng  ches  to  been  his  guide  2248  His  guide  was 

Moodir  off  vices,  callid  idilnesse,  mor/ofv'ices. 

Which  off  custum  ech  vertu  set  aside  whVhe  M- 

2217.   auesinesse  B.  2221.   gete]  get  yow  R. 

2225.  hertis  R.        2227.   Holdith  R.        2232.  doth]  do  H. 
2234.  rekne]  regne  R.  2242.  Amonge  R  —  beganne  R. 

2250.   ech]  his  R  —  set]  settith  H,  R  3. 

1  MS.  J.  leaf  48  recto. 

264  Sardanapalus ;   his  vicious  Life  \_&K.  11 

In  ech  acourt  wher  she  is  maistresse. 

Off  sorwe  &  myscheeff  the  firste  fouwderesse, 

Which  causid  onli  this  Sardanapall, 

That  to  al  goodnesse  his  wittis  dede  appall. 

He  fond  up  first  ryot  and  drunk[e]nesse, 
Callid  a  fadir  off  lust  and  lecherie; 
Hatful  off  herte  he  was  to  sobirnesse, 
Cherishyng  surfetis,  wach  and  glotonye, 
Callid  in  his  tyme  a  prynce  off  baudrie, 
Fond  rere  soperis*  and  father  beddis  soffte, 
Drynke  late,  and  chaunge  his  wynes  offte. 

The  air  off  metis  and  off  baudi  cookis, 
Which  off  custum  aid  ay  roste  and  seede, 
Sauour  off  spetis,  ladlis  &  flesshhookis 
He  loued  vveel,  and  took  off  hem  gret  heede. 
And  folk  that  drank[e]  mor  than  it  was  neede, 
Smellyng  off  wyn  for  ther  gret  excesse, 
With  hem  tabide  was  hooli  his  gladnesse. 

He  thouhte  also  that  it  dede  hym  good 
To  haue  aboute  hym,  ageyn*  skele  and  riht, 
Boistous  bocheris,  al  bespreynt  with  blood. 
And  watry  fissheris  abood  euer  in  his  siht, 
Ther  kootis  poudrid  with  scales  siluer-briht: 
Dempte  ther  odour,  duryng  al  his  liff. 
Was  to  his  corage  best  preseruatiff. 

and  nothing      pot  ther  nas  herbc,  spice,  gras  ne  roote 
pleasant  to  him  To  hym  SO  lusti,  as  was  the  bordelhous, 
hou^se  and^ust-  Nor  gatdeyn  non  so  holsum  nor  so  soote 
mouthed  people,  To  his  plcsauwce  nor  so  delicious, 
flauer°him.       -^s  the  ptescnce  off  folkis  lecherous; 
And  euer  glad  to  speke  off  ribaudie. 
And  folk  cherisshe  that  koude  flatre  &  lie. 

jFinaiiy  God      Til  at  the  laste  God  off  veray  riht 

became  dis-  t-vi'i  -ii*  ^•    • 

pleased  with  hisDisplesid  was  With  his  condiciouws,  2284 

scandalous  be-     r»  i  •  -i  ^ 

haviour,  because  he  was  m  euery  manys  siht 

2252.  firste]  chefF  H,  om.  R  3.      2254.  That]  om.  H,  R  3. 

2260.  reresoperis  B,  reresopirs  R,  reresopers  J,  rersuppers  R  3, 
reresowpers  P. 

2263.  alday]  ech  day  H. 

2264.  spitis  ladil  &  Fleishokes  R.       2265.   gret]  goode  R. 
2267.  ther]  the  H.       2269.   R  omits  lines  2269-4102. 
2270.  ageyn]  with  B,  J. 

2276.   herbe]  eke  H  —  ne]  nor  H.       2277.   as]  a  H. 

He  invented 
and  riot  and 
feather  beds, 
and  was  a 
libertine  and 

He  loved  the 
odour  of  food 
and  of  dirty 
cooks,  of  spits, 
ladles,  and 
meat  hooks, 
and  kept  com- 
pany with 
drunken  folk. 

He  liked  to 
have  butchers 
and  fishermen 
about  him, 
their  coats 
powdered  with 









BK.  Il] 

The  End  of  Sardanapalus 


So  femynyne  in  his  affecciouns, 
And  hooli  gaff  his  inclynaciouns 
Duryng  his  liff  to  eueri  vicious  thyng, 
Terrible  to  heere,  a[nd]  namli  off  a  kyng. 

But,  as  Bochas  list  to  putte  in  mynde,  [p. 

Whan  Arbachus,  a  prynce  off  gret  renoun, 
Sauh  off  this  kyng  the  flesshli  lustis  blynde, 
Made  with  the  peeple  off  that  regeoun 
Ageyn[e]s  hym  a  coniuracioun, 
And  to  hym  sente,  for  his  mysgouemaunce, 
Off  hih  disdeyn  a  ful  pleyn  diflSaunce. 

Bad  hym  be  war,  &  proudli  to  hym  tolde, 
That  he  hym  caste  his  vicious  liff  tassaile, 
And  in  al  haste,  also,  that  he  wolde 
Withynne  a  feeld[e]  meete  hym  in  bataile. 
Wheroff  astonyd,  his  herte  gan  to  faile, 
Wher  among  women  he  sat  &  made  gaudes, 
No  wiht  aboute  but  flatereres  and  baudes. 

And  vp  he  ros,  &  gan  hymsilff  auaunce, 
No  stuff  aboute  hym  but  sergauntis  riotous; 
Took  the  feeld  withoute  gouemaunce, 
No  men  off  armys  but  folkis*  vicious, 
Whos  aduersarie,*  callid  Arbachus, 
Made  hym  proudli  the  feeld  to  forsake. 
That  lik  a  coward  his  castell  he  hath  take. 

And  for  his  herte  frowardli  gan  faile, 
Nat*  lik  a  knyht,  but  lik  a  losengour. 
His  riche  perre,  his  roial  apparaile. 
His  gold,  his  ieweles,  vesseles  &  tresour 
Was  brouht  afom  hym  doun  [out]  off  a  tour, 
Mid  off  his  paleis,  &  gaff  his  men  in  charge 
Off  cole  and  fagot  to  make  a  fir  ful  large. 

In  which  he  caste  his  tresour  and  ieweles, 
Mor  bestial  than  lik  a  manli  man; 
And  myd  his  riche  stonys  and  vesseles. 
Into  the  fir  furiousli  he  ran. 
This  tryumphe  Sardanapallus  wan. 
With  fir  consumyd  for  his  fynal  meede, 
Brent  al  to  asshes  among  the  coles  rede. 

2303.   aboute]  about  hvm  H.       2305.   sargeauntifj  H. 

2307.  folkis]  off  folkis  B,  J,  H,  P,  R  3,  H  5. 

2308.  aduersaire  B. 

2312.  Nat]  I  nat  B,  H  5.      2315.   out]  om.  J,  H,  H  5,  P. 


1 1 61  ^^'^i  **  Bochas 
says,  Arbaces, 
who  saw  his 
blind  sensuality, 

2292  conspired 

against  him. 


bidding  him 
beware  and 
challenging  him 
to  battle. 


2304  Sardanapalus, 
surrounded  by 
women  and 
flatterers,  lost 
heart,  but 
made  a  show  of 
resistance  and 
then,  like  a 
coward,  fled 
to  his  castle. 


where  he  bade 
all  his  jewels 
2312  and  gold  and 
royal  garment* 
be  brought 
to  him,  and. 


having  a  large 
fire  kindled,  _ 
cast   everything 
into  it,  and 
2320  running 

furiously  into 
the  flames,  was 
himself  burnt 
to  ashes. 


266  Bochas  commends  Industry  (^bk.  ii 

Before  his  death  Tofom  his  deth[e]  bad  men  sholde  write 
epitaph:  "My  VpoH  his  grauc,  the  book  doth  certefie, 

idleness  and         ttt-    i     i  i  i   •  r  ^• 

vicious  life        With  lettres  large,  this  resouw  tor  tendite: 

brought  me  to  <.jyjj  ^^^^jj  jj^^  ^^  froward  glotciiye,  2328 

Myn  idilnesse,  myn  hatful  lecherye, 

Han  causid  me,  with  many  fals  desir. 

My  laste  daies  to  be  consumpt  with  fir." 

From  this,        This  epitaiFe  on  his  graue  he  sette,  2332 

rrmces,  you         rj^        .  i  ,  •  i   i   *      i 

may  see  that     1  o  shewe  how  he  was  in  al  his  lyue 

vengeance  al-       r*       •  i  i  11 

ways  follows      Dcsi  euet  to  hyndren  and  to  iette 


Al  maner  vertu,  &  therageyn  to  stryue. 
Who  folweth  his  tras  is  neuer  lik  to  thryue,  2336 

For  which,  ye  Pryncis,  seeth  for  your  auail, 
Vengaunce  ay  folweth  vices  at  the  tail. 

f  A  comendacion  of  Bochas  of  vertuous  besines 
rehersing  names  fondours  of  diuers  sciencis  & 
cunnjmgis  in  reprefe  of  Idilnes.^ 

There  were       ^TT^HER  wet  eck  Other,  hat  list  falsli  prouide 

others  also  who        ■ 


delighted  to  live  A     Fals  flesshli  lustis  &  dissoluciouws,  2340 

fashionr  Riot,  outrage,  froward  disdeyn  &  pride. 

Vices  tenhauwce  in  ther  afFecciouws 
With  many  onlefful  croked  condiciouws, 
Resoun  auoidyng,  as  I  reherse  shall,  2344 

ThemsilfF  delityng  for  to  be  bestiall. 
for  people  may  Tweyne  mancr  folkis  to  putte  in  remewbraunce, 

be  divided  into   ^^~.      .  ,  i  ^•^r 

two  kinds:  the  (JiT  vicc  and  vertu,  and  sette  a  dmerence: 
th""vicious'!  and  The  goodc  alway  han  set  ther  plesaunce  2348 

of  both"is"u'ch    In  vertuous  labour  to  doon  ther  deligence; 
as  they  deserve,  ^j^j  yicious  pecple  in  slouthe  &  necligcnce. 
And  the  report  off  bothen  is  reserued. 
With  laude  or  lak,  as  thei  han  disserued.  2352 

One  must         Men  muste  off  riht  the  vertuous  preferre, 
industrious  and  And  ttculi  prcisc  labour  and  besynesse; 
idie'^'so  f  will  And  ageynward,  dispreisen  folk  that  erre, 
someWrtuots    Which  ha[ue]  no  ioie  but  in  idilnesse.  2356 

pa'rVthem'^°with  "^"^  ^°  compare  bamaner  off  witnesse, 
Sardanapaius.    Vcttuous  folk  I  will  to  myndc  Call 
In  rebukyng  off  kyng  Sardanapall. 

2330.   Han]  have  H.      2332.   Epitaphye  H,  Epitaphie  P. 

2335.   ther  ageyn  to]  therageyns  H. 

2352.   have  H.       2353.   preferre]  presi?rve  H. 

^  The  same  heading  is  in  MS.  J.  leaf  48  verso. 

BK.  Il] 

Bochas  in  Commendation  of  Industry 


The  olde  wise,  callid  Pictagoras, 

Be  soun  off  hameris,  auctours  certefie, 

Exaumple  took[e],  and  cheefF  maister  was 

That  fond  out  first  musik  and  melodie. 

Yit  off  Tubal  sumwe  bookis  specefie, 

That  he  be  strok  of  smethis  where  thei  stood, 

Fond  first  out  musik  tofor  Noes  flood. 

And  losephus  remembreth  be  scripture,  [p. 

That  this  Tubal  koude  forge  weel, 

First  ymagyned  makyng  oflF  armure 

With  instrumentis  off  iren  and  off  steel, 

And  ther  temprures  he  fond  out  euerideel. 

Lucyus  Tarquyn,  in  stori  as  I  fynde,  2372 

Fond  cheynes  first,  folk  to  fetryn  &  bynde. 

The  childre  off  Seth,  in  story  ye  mai  see, 

Flouryng  in  vertu  be  long  successiouns. 

For  to  profite  to  ther  posterite,  2376 

Fond  first  the  craflFt  off  heuenli  mociouns, 

OfFsondri  sterris  the  reuoluciouns; 

Bequath  ther  cunnyng,  off^  gret  auauntage, 

To  them  that  afftir  cam  off^  ther  lynage.  2380 

For  ther  vertu  God  galF  hem  gret  cunwyng, 
Touchyng  natures  bothe  oflF"  erthe  &  heuene, 
And  it  remembrid  sothli  be  writyng. 
To  lasten  ay  for  water  or  for  leuene. 
Generaciouns  ther  wer  off  hem  seuene. 
Which  for  vertu,  withoute  werre  or  striff, 
Trauailed  in  cunnyng  duryng  al  ther  liff. 

And  for  that  Adam  dede  prophesie, 
Twies  the  world  destroied  sholde  be. 
With  water  onys  stonde  in  iupartie. 
Next  with  fir,  which  no  man  myht[e]  fle: 
But  Sethis  childre,  as  thei*  dede  see. 
Made  too  peleris  wher  men  myhte  graue. 
Fro  fir  &  watir  the  carectis  for  to  saue. 

The  ton  was  maad  off  tilis  hard  ibake. 
Fro  touch  off  fir  to  saue  the  scripture;  2396 

Off  hard  marbil  thei  dede  a-nother  make, 
Ageyn[es]  water  strongli  to  endure, 

2371.   temprures]  thempruriTS  H.         2373.   fettre  H. 

2379.   oflGsoH,  forH  s.orP.       2383.   it]  it  is  H. 

2392.   asthei]althisB,  J,  P,  R  3.      2393.  graue]  save  H. 

2360  Pythagoras  or 
Tubal  invented 
music  from  the 
rhjthm  of  beat- 
ing hammer*. 


117]  Tubal  first  in- 
vented forged 

2368  armour  and 

Lucius  Tarquin 

The  children  of 
Seth  were  the 
first  astrono- 

seven  genera- 
tions of  them, 
who  laboured  in 
peace  all  their 


3388  ^^^  they  made 
two  pillars,  one 
of  tiles,  the 
other  of  hard 
marble,  upon 
which  letters 
were  engraved 

2  3fi2  ^°  ^^^'^  ^^^^ 
•Sy     from  destruction 

by  water  and 



Bochas  in  Commendation  of  Industry 

[bk.  II 

They  thought 
that  their 
would  be  in 
vain  were  it 
not  passed  on 
to  other  men. 

To  saue  ofFletris  the  preent  &  the  figure: 
For  ther  cunwyng  afForn  gan  so  prouide, 
Geyn  fir  &  watlr  perpetueli  tabide. 

Thei  dempte  ther  cunwyng  hadde  be  in  veyn. 

But  folk  with  them  hadde  be  partable; 

And  for  ther  labour  sholde  afftirward  be  seyn, 

Thei  it  remewbrid  be  writyng  ful  notable: 

Onto-fpr  God  a  thyng  ful  comendable, 

To  them  that  folwe,  be  scripture  or  writyng 

Or  that  men  deie  departe  ther  cunwyng. 

In  old  times     Yov  be  old  tyme  folk  dyuers  crafFtis  fouwde 

various  crafts      ^  ,    .        .         « 

were  found  for  In  sundti  wise  tor  ocupacioun; 
Llnt°of°v'irtue  Vcrtu  to  cherisshc,  vices  to  confouwde, 
ance^of  idieitss  Thet  witt  thei  sette  &  ther  entencioun 
To  putte  ther  labour  in  execucioun, 
And  to  outrage,  this  is  veray  trouthe, 
Fro  manys  lifF  necligence  &  slouthe. 

Enoch  invented  Qldc  Ennok,  ful  famous  off  vertu, 

the  Hebrew  _v  i  r        ^    r  rr  •    i 

Duryng  that  age  tond  first  orr  euerichon 

Thoruh  his  prudence  lettres  off  Hebreu; 

And  in  a  piler  thei  wer  kept  off  ston, 

Til  that  the  flood  off  Noe  was  agon. 

And  afitir  hym,  Cam  was  the  secounde 

Bi  whom  off  Hebreu  lettres  wer  first  fouwde. 

and  so  did       And  CatacHsmus  the  firste  was  that  fond 

Catacrismus.        ■,  ,  rr     i  i 

But  the  letters  Letttcs  also,  as  oiT  that  language. 
God's^haJd  and  But  Ictttes  wreten  with  Godis  owne  bond 
w«?d'fferlnr  Moyscs  fitst  took,  most  briht  off  his  visage, 
Vpon  Syna  as  he  heeld  his  passage, 
Which  off  carectis  &  namys  in  sentence 
From  other  writyng  hadde  a  difference. 

Eek  afftirward,  as  other  bookis  tell, 
And  Seyn[t]  lerom  rehersith  in  his  stile, 
Vnder  thempire  off  Zorobabell, 
Esdras  off  Hebreu  gan  lettres  first  compile; 
And  Abraham,  gon  sithen*  a  gret  while, 
The  firste  was,  in  bookis  men  may  see, 
That  fond  lettres  off  Cire  &  off  Caldee. 

alphabet,  and 
after  Noah's 
Flood,  Cam 
it  again, 

Ezra  became 
the  fourth  dis- 
coverer of  He- 
brew letters, 
and  Abraham 
invented  those 
of  Syria  and 











2399.  2nd  the]  om.  H.   2413.  in]  &  H.   2415.  Fro]  For  J. 

2421.  Caame  H,  Cam  J,  R  3,  P.   2431.  seyn  J. 

2433.  first]  om.  H,  R  3. 

2434.  gon]  gan  J  —  gon  sithen]  gan  sithe  B. 

BK.  Il] 

Bochas  in  Commendation  of  Industry 


Ysis  in  Egipt  fond  dyuersite 
Off  sundri  lettres,  parted  into  tweyne: 
First  for  preestis,  and  for  the  comounte 
Vulgar  lettres  he  dede  also  ordeyne. 
And  Fenyces  dede  ther  besy  peyne 
Lettres  off  Greek  to  fynde  in  ther  entent, 
Which  that  Cadmus  first  into  Grece  sent, 

Which  in  noumbre  fulli  wer  seuenteene; 
Whan  off  Troye  was  endid  the  bataile, 
Pallamydes,  ther  language  to  susteene, 
Put  thre  therto,  which  gretli  dede  auaile. 
Pidagorus,  for  prudent  gouemaile, 
Fond  first  out  Y,  a  figur  to  disceme 
The  liff  heer  short  and  liff  that  is  eteme. 

First  Latyn  lettres  off  our  A.  B.  C,  [p. 

Carmentis  fond,  off  ful  hih  prudence. 

Grete  Omerus,  in  Isidre  ye  may  see. 

Fond  among  Grekis  crafft  off  eloquence. 

First  in  Rome,  be  souereyn  excellence. 

Off  rethorik  Tullius  fond  the  flours,  2456 

Pie  and  diffence  off  subtil  oratours. 

Callicrates,  a  grauer  most  notable. 

Off  whiht  yuor  dede  his  besynesse. 

His  hand,  his  eye  so  iust  wer  &  so  stable,  2460 

Off  an  ampte  to  graue*  out  the  liknesse, 

Vpon  the  ground  as  Nature  doth  hym  dresse. 

This  crafft  he  fond,  as  Sardanapall 

Fond  idilnesse  mooder  to  vices  all.  2464 

Off  a  screueyn  Bochas  maketh  mencioun, 

How  in  a  scrowe  off  litil  quantite 

Wrot  off  al  Troie  the  destruccioun, 

Folwyng  Omerus  be  gret  subtilite:  2468 

Which  among  Grekis  is  had  in  gret  deynte. 

Because  he  was  founde  in  his  writyng. 

So  compendious  the  story  rehersyng. 

Isis  made  a  two- 
fold alphabet 
in  Egypt,  and 
the  Phoenicians 
Greek  letters 
2440  numbering 

seventeen,  which 
Cadmus  sent  to 



118]  Latin  letters 
were  invented 

2452  by  Carmentis, 
Greek  elo- 
quence by 
Homer,   Roman 
oratory  by 

carved  a  life- 
sized  ant  out 
of  ivory. 

and  Bochas 
mentions  a 
scrivener  who 
wrote  the  entire 
Iliad  on  a  little 

2438.  sundri]  sondris  H. 

2440.   also  did  H. 

2450.  2nd  liiF]  te  liff  H,  ^t  life  R  3,  the  life  P. 

2453.  ysodre  H. 

2457.  off]  &  H. 

2461.  grauen  B. 

270  Bochas  in  Commendation  of  Industry  []bk.  ii 

Mirmecides       Mirmecldcs*  made  a  char  also  2472 

made  a  chariot     t       ■>  ii-  -iii  'i 

and  a  ship  so    And  2L  smal  shipp,  with  al  the  apparaile, 
b?e^  might  cover  So  that  a  bee  myhte  close  hem  bothe  too 
hb'^ings^  ^'^^  Vnder  his  weengis,  which  is  a'gret  meruaile  — 

And  nothyng  seyn  off  al  the  hool  entailer  2476 

This  crafFt  he  fond  off  vertuous  besynesse 
Teschewe  the  vice  off  froward  idilnesse. 

Pan,  the  god  of  Pan,  god  off  Kynde,  with  his  pipes  seuene, 
composed  tunes  Off  recotderis  fond  first  the  melodies.  2480 

Mer\:vrry  on^the  And  Metcuric,  that  sit  so  hih  in  heuene, 
chu^'dlscljv^red  Fitst  in  his  harpe  fond  sugred  armonyes. 
of"ifquo^rl''^"^    Holsum  wynes  thoruhfyned  from  ther  lyes 

Bachus  fond  first,  of*  vynes  heuy  lade,  2484 

Licour  off  licours  corages  for  to  glade. 

Perdix  and       Petdix  be  cuwpas  fond  triangle  and  lyne, 

Euclid  invented    a       ■,    t^       ■,•  -t    r  ri 

geometry.         And  Luclid  hrst  lond  geometne, 

cin^  AiblTr^as'ar  And  Phebus  fond  the  crafft  off  medicyne.  2488 

Min°ervrchar-   Albumasat  [first]  fond  astronomye; 

farini!*'°°  '^^'  ^^^  Mynerua  gan  charis  first  to  guye. 

lason  first  sailed,  in  story  it  is  told. 

Toward  Colchos  to  wynne  the  Flees  off  Gold.       2492 

Ceres agricuiture.Ceres  the  goddcsse  fond  first  tilthe  off  lond; 

Dionysus  and       t-^.        .    .  ,  •         •      * 

Beiiona  warfare,  Diomsms  tryumphcs  ttansitotie.' 

Ethoius^sha^"  And  Bellona  be  force  first  out  fond 

spears.  Conquest  be  knyhthod,  &  in  the  feeld  victorie.     2496 

And  Martis  sone,  as  put  is  in  memorie, 
Callid  Etholus,  fond  speris  sharp  &  keene, 
To  renne  a  werre  in  platis  briht  and  sheene. 

Aristaeus  first    Eck  Atisteus  fond  out  the  vsage  250a 

curdsTnd  ^"     Off  mylk  &  cruddis,  &  off  hony  soote. 
smote' firr/rom  Piroidcs,  for  gret  auauMtage, 
fnvente^d^weav-  Fto  flyntes  smet  fir  daryng  in  the  roote. 
'"s  And  Pallas,  which  that  may  to  cold  do  boote,       2504. 

Fond  out  weuyng,  this  is  veray  soth, 
Thoruh  hir  prudence,  off  al  maner  cloth. 

2472.  Mirmecides]   Marmychides    B,   Mirmychides   H,   Mir* 
michiades  R  3,  Myrnychydes  H  5,  Mirmecides  P. 

2473.  al  the  apparaile]  a  trapparaile  H.       2474.    a  bee]  A  B  H. 
2475.   a]  om.  H.       2480.   the]  om.  H,  R  3.       2481.   sittith  H. 
2484.   of]  on  B,  J,  R3.       2487.   gemetrye  H. 

2494.   96.    transitoire,  victoire  B. 

2496.   be]  of  H  —  &]  om.  H.       2497.   put  is  repeated  in  H. 

2502.   Purides  H.       2505.   weyvyng  H.       2506.   hir]  his  H. 

BK.  Il] 

An  Envoy  on  vicious  Idleness 


And  Fido  first  fond  out  the  science 
Off  mesours  and  off  proporciouns, 
And  for  marchantis  dede  his  dehgence 
To  fynde  ballaunces  be  iust  dyuysiouns, 
Tauoide  al  fraude  in  citees  &  in  tou^zs 
On  outher*  parti,  pleynli  to  compile, 
Off  trewe  weihte  that  ther  wer  no  gile. 

Compare  in  ordre  cleerli  all  these  thynges 
Founde  off  old  tyme  be  deligent  trauaile, 
To  the  plesaunce  off  pryncis  &  off  kynges. 
To  shewe  how  moch[e]  cunnyng  may  auaile, 
And  weie  ageynward  the  froward  aquitaile, 
Contrariousli  how  Sardanapalle 
Fond  idilnesse  mooder  off  vices  alle. 

Lat  pryncis  alle  heeroff  taken  heed. 

What  auaileth  vertuous  besynesse. 

And  what  damage  the  reuers  doth  in  deed, 

Vicious  liff,  slouthe  and  idilnesse; 

And  these  exaumples  lat  hem  eek  inpresse 

Amyd  ther  herte,  and  how  Sardanapalle 

Fond  idilnesse  mooder  off  vices  alle. 

and  Fido 
weights  and 
2%oS  measures. 


Compare  these 
old  inventions 
with  the  worth- 
lessness  of  Sar- 
2516  danapalus,  who 
only  discovered 
that  idleness  is 
the  mother  of 
all  vices. 


Let  princes 
remember  the 
advantage  of 
virtuous  in- 
dustry and 
the  damage 
2524  done  by  idle- 

[^  Lenvoy.] 

NOBLE  Pryncis,  heer  ye  may  weel  see 
As  in  a  merowr,  off  ful  deer  euydence. 
Be  many  exaumple  mo  than  too  or  thre. 
What  harm  folweth  off  slouthe  &  necligence, 
Deepe  enprentyng  in  your  aduertence. 
How  gret  hyndryng  doth  wilful  frowardnesse 
To  your  estat  thoruh  vicious  idilnesse. 

Whan  resoun  faileth,  and  sensualite  [p. 

Holdeth  the  bridel  off  lecherous  insolence, 
And  sobirnesse  hath  lost  his  liberte, 
And  to  fals  lust  is  doon  the  reuerence. 
And  vice  off  vertu  hath  an  apparence,  — 
Misledith  pryncis  off  wilful  reklesnesse 
To  gret  errour  off  froward  idilnesse. 

2>28  Noble  Princes, 
see  as  in  a 
mirror  the 
harm  that 
comes  from 
sloth  and 


IIQ]  ^hen  reason 
■^    fails  and  vice 

2536  takes  on  an 
appearance  of 
virtue,  princes 
recklessly  fall 
into  idleness. 


2507.   Sido  H.       2508.   mesur^  H. 

2512.   outher]  nouther  B.       2514.   Compare]  Compas  H,  R  3. 

2516.   &  off]  om.  H. 

2528.   heer]  om.  H.       2532.   empryntyng  H. 

272  The  Story  of  Amaziah  ^bk.  ii 

and  adversity. 

which  has  no    Thcr  mav  to  slouthe  non  other  guerdoun  be, 

other  reward        _  _  -^      ,  .  "  ' 

than  sorrow      JNoF  non  Other  condigiie  recompense, 

But  sorwe,  myscheefF  and  aduersite,  2544 

Sodeyn  vengaunce  and  onwar  violence. 

Whan  ye  be  froward  in  your  magnyficence 

To  knowe  the  Lord  and  bowe  be  meeknesse 

Tobeie  his  preceptis  and  eschewe  idilnesse.  2548 

[How  Amazias  in  luda  kyng  for  pride  and  presump- 
cioun  was  venquysshed  in  bataUe  &  aftir  slayn.]  ^ 

As  Bochas  sat   TN  his  studi  as  Bochas  sat  musyng, 

musing  in  his        ■     ,,,.   ,  ,  ,  /     °'    . 

study,  Amaziah  X   With  many  vnkouth  soleyn  tantasie, 

and  his  son         <-•-<      i  i  i     •   i 

Uzziah  appeared  lo  hym  appcrcd  many  a  myhti  kyng; 

befof  mighty    And  tofom  allc  cam  worthi  Amazie,  2552 

kings;  Y{[s  sone  also,  that  callid  was  losie. 

Off  Dauidis  blood  descendyng,  as  I  reede, 

Ech  afFtir  othir  in  luda  to  succeede. 

and  Amaziah     Fitst  Amazias  compleyned  on  Fortune,  2556 

began  to  com-     ^^  ,  .  i  • 

plain  on  For-    Causyng  his  gteuous  gret  aduersites, 

tune,  who  cast    npi  •  ii*  i    • 

both  him  and     1  he  ttaitoutesse  caliid  m  comune, 

theirThrones.    These  kynges  tweyne  castyng  from  ther  sees; 

Whos  ouerturnyng  from  ther  dignites,  2560 

Onwar  fallyng,  dreedful  and  terible. 
Been  ceriousli  remembrid  in  the  Bible. 

Men  may  read  Ther  pitous  eende  men  may  ther  reede  &  see, 

about  their  sad   __  '  i  r      •       i     i 

end  in  the        How  T  ortune  thet  tatis  dede  entrete.  2564 

oniy'^'gilan  out^  Whetfore  teschcwe  &  fleen  prolixite, 
the  chief  facts.  ^|  ^gjious  thyng  in  this  processe  to  lete. 

And  in  substaunce  to  glenen  out  the  grete, 

Off  ther  fallyng  I  purpose  nat  to  spare  2568 

Compendiousli  the  causes  to  declare. 

Amaziah  held    This  Amazias  hauyng  gouernauwce 

the  sceptre  over  -r-t      r   ^   •  •   i         rr 

Judah  and  grew  De  tul  mst  title  Olt  SUCCCSSIOUM, 

prou  rpj^^  sceptre  off  luda,  with  al  the  hool  puissauwce,  2572 

2542.   to]  no  H,  P.  —  This  stanza  is  omitted  in  J. 
2556.   First]  For  H. 

2565.  teschewe]  to  shewen  H,  to  shew  R  3. 

2566.  Al]  Off  J  —  tedious  thyng]  tediouste  H,  tedioustee  R  3, 
tediousty  P. 

2569.   causes]  cause  H.       2571.   off]  havyng  H. 

1  MS.  J.  leaf  49  verso. 

BK.  Il] 

The  Story  of  Amaziah 


Ful  pesibli  in  his  possessioun, 

Til  that  pride  and  fals  presumpcioun 

Most  frowardli  dede  his  herte  enbrace, 

Which  al  attonys  made  hym  lose  his  grace.  2576 

In  herte  he  hadde  a  maner*  veynglorie, 

Because  that  God  made  hym  to  preuaile 

In  his  conquest  and  to  have*  victorie, 

Amalechitis  to  venquysshe  in  bataile,  2580 

Eek  Gabanytis,  as  he  them  dede  assaile, 

Purposyng[e]  afftir,  yifF  he  myhte, 

With  Israelitis  off  pride  for  to  fyhte. 

Onto  kyng  loas  off  Israel  he  sente, 
Hym  comaundyng  to  obeien  his  biddyng, 
And  be  lik  subiect,  as  wem  in  ther  entente, 
His  predecessours  in  al  maner  thyng, 
Whilom  to  Dauid,  the  noble  worthi  kyng. 
This  was  his  sonde  to  loas,  plat  and  pleyn. 
Which  bi  a  problem  thus  wrot  to  hym  ageyn: 

"The  ougli  thistil  off  the  valis  lowe, 
Proudli  presumyng  aboue[n]  his  degre, 
To  make  his  pride  openli  be  knowe. 
Sent  his  message  to  the  cedre  tre, 
That  his  sone  myhte  weddid  be 
To  his  doubter;  al-thouh  in  substaunce 
Atwen  hem  too  was  a  gret  discordaunce. 

But  off  the  forest  the  beestis  sauagyne 

In  ther  corages  hadde  theroff  disdeyn. 

Alle  off  assent  fersli  dede  enclyne  2600 

The  thistel  leuys  abrod  vpon  the  pleyn. 

That  ther  was  nouther  leff  nor  prikke  seyn." 

This  was  the  problem,  which  loas  be  writyng 

Sent  in  a  pistil  to  Amazie  the  kyng.  2604 

^  But  losephus  in  his  origynal. 

The  said  epistil,  as  he  doth  expresse, 

Seith  off  the  vale  how  the  pouder  smal 

Off  pride  sente  to  the  hih  cipresse,  2608 

That  his  doubter,  off  excellent  faimesse, 

Onto  his  sone,  pleynli  to  descryue, 

Myhte  be  delyuered  &  hauen  hir  to  wyue. 

2577.   maner]  maner  off  B.       2579.   have]  han  B. 

2581.   them  dedel  did  them  H. 

2600.   fersli]  freshly  H.       261 1.    &]  to  H. 

and   vainglori- 
ous because 
God  helped  him 
defeat  the 
Amalekites   and 

2;&il  He  wanted  to 
^^  fight  Israel 

and  commanded 
King  Jehoash 
to  be  subject 
to  him. 

Jehoash  an- 
swered, "TTie 
2592  ugly  thistle  of 
the  vale  sent 
to  the  cedar- 
tree,  saying, 
'give  thy 
daughter  to 
my  son  in 
marriage.'   But 
the  wild  beasts 
of  the  forest 
trod  down  the 
thistle.  Not  a 
leaf  or  even  a 
prick  was  left." 


Josephus  sub- 
stitutes the 
puff-ball  and 


The  Story  of  Amaziah 

[bk.  II 

and,  according 
to  him,  the 
puff-ball  was 
cast  abroad. 

But  a  fell  beeste,  which  that  beside  stood, 

Off  cruel  ire  and  indignaciouw, 

With  feet  disdeynyng  the  pouder  caste  abrod 

Hih  in  the  air  aboute  hym  envirouM. 

The  which  exaumple  conceyued  off  resoun, 

Who  that  attempteth  to  clymben  hih  alofFte, 

With  onwar  chauwg  his  fall  is  ful  onsofFte. 



There  is  no 
congruity  be- 
tween a  thistle 
and  a  cedar  or 
a  cypress  and 
a  puff-ball. 
Royalty  should 
not  be  married 
to  persons  of 
low  birth. 

Atwen  the  cedre,  off  tre[e]s  most  roiall,  [p.  120] 

And  a  sharp  thistil  is  no  convenyence,  2620 

Nor  twen  a  cipresse,  statli*  fouwde  att  all, 

And  lothsum  pouder  is  a  gret  difference: 

For  roial  blood  sholde  ha[ue]  non  assistence 

To  be  ioyned  nor  knet  in  mariage  2624 

With  such  as  been  brouht  foorth  ofF  low  p<2rage. 

The  cedre  is  strong  &  myhti  off  substau«ce, 

In  his  vpgrowyng  riht  as  any  lyne; 

And  thouh  the  thistil  ha[ue]  spottis  off  plesauwce,  2628 

He  hath  eek  prikkis,  sharp  as  any  spyne. 

And  bothe  naturis,  pleynli  to  termyne, 

The  cedre  off  kynde,  who  looke[th]  weel  aboute, 

To  no  thistil*  sholde  his  brauwchis  loute.  2632 

The  cypress  is    Holsum  ofF  odout  is  the  fait  cipresse, 

p"ff-baii'   ""^  *  As  bookis  telle,  and  vertuous  off  kynde; 

wfth'dust  anr  Dust  &  pouder,  pleynli  to  expresse, 

gets  in  people's  Xj-Qubieth  the  ait  &  maketh  folkis  blynde:  2636 

For  which  in  spousaile  convenyence  to  fynde, 
Lat  estatis  off  ther  berthe  honurable, 
Voide  al  raskail  &  wedde  ther  semblable. 

The  thistle,  al- 
though it  has 
some  good 
qualities,  also 
has  pricks  as 
sharp  as  a 

estates  should 
avoid  rabble. 
Amaziah  lost 
bia  temper,  and 
made  war  on 
Jehoash;    but 
his  men  ran 

But  Amazias  wolde  nat  be  war 
For  no  warnyng,  nor  for  no  prophecie. 
But  stille  in  herte  gret  hatrede  [he]  bar 
Ageyn  kyng  loas,  oflF  malice  &  envie; 
Into  a*  feld  brouht  al  his  cheualrie, 
Gadred  them  out,  bothe  nyh  and  ferre, 
Geyn  Godis  will  on  hym  to  gynwe  a  werre. 

2621.   twenl  atween  H  —  statli]  estatli  B,  estatly  J. 

2623.   For]  Full  H  —  sholde]  shal  H. 

2629.   He]  &  H. 

2632.   thistil]  thouthistil  B,  H,  thouhthistil  J,  thouthystyl  H  5, 

thistill  R  %,  thistle  P. 
2636.   air]  day  H. 
2639.  al]  of  H. 
2642.   he]  om.  J. 
2644.  a]  the  B.  2646.  on]  geyn  H. 



BK.  Il] 

Amaziah's  Son  Uzziah 


And  kyng  loas,  ful  lik  a  worthi  knyht, 
Into  the  feeld[e}  faste  gan  hym  speede; 
And  alle  the  knyhtis  off  luda  anon  riht 
Wer  smet  off  vengaunce  with  a  sodeyn  dreede 
To  bidde  hem  fle,  God  wot,  it  was  no  neede, 
And  Amazias,  for  al  his  gret[e]  pride, 
Stood  destitut  and  no  man  be  his  side. 

With  hym  was  non  lefft  off  al  his  meyne. 
So  God  and  loas  ageyn  hym  wrouhte. 
Off  Jerusalem  entred  the  cite. 
And  Amazie  off  force  with  hym  he  brouhte; 
And  in  the  temple  the  tresour  out  he  souhte, 
Gold  and  siluer,  and  hooli  ther  richesse; 
And  to  Samarie  hom  he  gan  hym  dresse. 

And  Amazias  he  leet  out  off  prisoun, 
Afftir  al  this,  and  suffred  hym  go  fre. 
To  his  myscheeff  and  his  confusioun, 
He  was  delyuered  from  his  captiuite; 
For  slayn  he  was  in  Lachis  the  cite. 
Among  his  freendis  be  symulacioun. 
His  deth  conspired  vnder  ful  fals  tresoun. 


and  Jehoash 
captured  him 



and  took  all 
the  treasure  of 
the  temple  to 


Afterwards  he 
set  Amaziah 
free,  and 
Amaziah  was 
soon  after- 
,  -     ward  slain  in 
2004  Lachish. 

[How  god  vpon  losias  succedyng  kjmg  next  in  luda 
toke  vengeaunce/  smot  him  wit/i  lepre.^  ^ 

AFFTIR  in  luda,  the  myhti  regioun, 
Next  Amazias,  losias  gan  succeede. 
Wonder  manli  &  famous  of  renoun. 
In  alle  his  werkis  ful  prouident  in  deede. 
And  off  his  knyhthod  venquisshid,  as  I  reede. 
The  Palestynes,  for  al  ther  gret  puissauwce, 
With  al  Arabie  he  brouht  onto  vttraunce. 

Bike  touns  and  many  strong  cite, 

And  onto  Egipt  he  his  boundis  sette; 

Made  castelis  beside  the  Rede  Se, 

And  in  his  conquest,  whom  that  euer  he  mette, 

Off  manli  pride  he  ne  wolde  lette  — 

I  meene  alle  tho  that  were  his  aduersaires  — 

To  his  lordshepe  to  make  hem  tributaires. 

2658.   2nd  the]  om.  H. 

2674.   vttraunce]  myschaunce  H. 

2681.   his]  his  gret  H. 

*  MS.  J.  leaf  50  recto. 

2668  •■^fter    Amaziah, 
Uzziah  suc- 
ceeded, manly 
and  famous. 


He  defeated  the 
Palestines,  con- 
2676  quered  Arabia 
and  built  to'xns 
and  castles. 



Uzziah's  Obstinacy  and  Pride 

[bk.  II 

He  also  rebuilt 
its  defences, 

and  planted 
gardens  and 
vineyards  and 
grafted  trees. 

He  became  very 
much  dreaded 
for  his  bravery, 
and  finally 
grew  proud 

and  obstinate 
to  God. 

So  Fortune  de- 
cided to  assail 
him,  especially 
when  he 
dressed  up  like 
a  bishop  out  of 
pure  wanton- 
ness and 
started  to 
sacrifice  in  the 
temple,  which 

He  dede  his  labour  also  to  repare 

lerusalem  afFtir  his  ruyne; 

The  wallis  rered,  which  on  the  soil  lay  bare,  2684 

Made  newe  tour[e]s,  riht  as  any  lyne, 

Fanys  off  gold  ther  torettis  tenlumyne, 

And  tafforce  hem,  leet  werkmen  vndertake 

Squar  bastiles  &  bolwerkis  to  make.  2688 

He  delited  to  make  fressh  gardynes, 

Dyuers  greynes  &  herbis  for  to  knowe, 

R<?ioisshid  to  plante  sundri  vynes, 

To  grifFe  trees  and  seedis  for  to  sowe,  2692 

And  strauwge  frutis  [to]  make  hem  growe  arowe. 

And  with  hym  hadde,  his  enmyes  to  encouwbre, 

Thre  huwdrid  thousand  manli  men  in  nouwbre. 

His  noble  fame  gan  to  sprede  wide,  2696 

And  gret[e]li  drad  for  his  hih  prowesse, 

Wherthoruh  his  herte  corupt  was  with  pride, 

Because  onli  off  his  gret  richesse; 

And  frowardli  he  dede  his  besynesse  2700 

For  to  maligne  in  his  estat  roial 

Ageyn  the  Lord,  the  which  is  inmortal. 

To  God  aboue  he  gan  wexe  obstynat,  [p.  121] 

That  be  processe  ful  smal  he  dede  wynne;  2704 

And  sauour  cauhte  in  his  roial  estat 

To  folwe  his  fader  in  onthrift  &  synne, 

That  grace  and  vertu  from  hym  dede  twynne. 

In  most  shynyng  off  his  magnyficence,  2708 

Fortune  proudli  assailed  his  excellence. 

Caste  she  wolde  withynne  a  litil  while 

His  surquedie  &  froward  pride  assaile, 

And  ful  onwarli  deceyue  hym  and  begile,  2712 

To  make  his  power  tappallyn  &  to  faile, 

Whan  that  this  kyng  took  on  thapparaile 

Off  a  bisshop,  off  veray  frowardnesse, 

And  into  temple  proudli  gan  hym  dresse,  2716 

Beyng  in  purpos,  on  a  solempne  day, 
To  take  his  way  up  to  the  hih  auter, 
Falsli  vsurpyng,  who-euer  seide  nay. 

2692.  griffe]  grifFt  H,  grift  R  3,  grafFe  P  —  seede  H. 

2693.  to3  om.  P. 

2697.  hih]  om.  J.       2702.    2nd  the]  om.  H. 

2706.  &]&inPI,  R3.       2714.   that]  07W.  H,  R  3. 

BK.  li] 

The  End  of  Uzziab 



To  sacrefie,  holdyng  the  censer, 
Tofor  the  auter,  that  shon  of  gold  ful  cleer. 
For  which  offence,  the  Bible  seith  the  same, 
Azarias  the  bisshop  dede  hym  blame. 

Gan  withstonde  hym  in  the  face  anon. 

Four  score  preestis  beyng  in  presence. 

Off  the  kynrede  descendid  off  Aaron, 

Which  forbad  hym  &  made  resistence. 

That  with  his  hand  he  sholde  putte  incence 

Vpon  the  auter,  ageyn[es]  Godis  lawe, 

Hym  chargyng  boldli  his  presence  to  withdrawe. 

But  off  despiht  he  made  them  holde  ther  pes, 
In  peyne  off  deth  began  hem  to  manace; 
And  sodenli  among[es]  al  the  pres. 
An  erthequaue  fill  in  the  same  place. 
And  therwithal  in  the  kynges  face. 
Off  the  Sonne  ther  smet  a  bem  so  briht. 
That  al  his  visage  was  scorkid  with  the  liht. 

He  wex  a  lepre,  ful  foul  and  riht  horible 

For  his  ofFence,  as  God  list  ordeyne; 

To  euery  man  off  look  he  was  terible, 

And  but  fewe  his  myscheefF  gan  compleyne. 

And  a  gret  hill  the  same  hour  karff  on  tweyne, 

Nat  ferr  a-side  from  the  toun  withoute, 

Cites  destroieng  that  stood  round  aboute. 

On  kyng  losie  God  took  his  vengaunce. 

For  al  his  lordshepe  &  his  magnyficence. 

To  punyshe  his  pride  &  his  froward  puissaunce, 

And  brouht  hym  lowe  for  his  gret  offence: 

For  his  persone  was  put  out  off  presence 

Perpetueli,  as  Hooli  Writ  can  telle, 

Fer  from  al  peeple  with  lepres  for  to  duelle. 

His  flessh  was  troubled  with  dyuers  passiouws. 
For  his  siknesse  auoided  the  cite; 
In  cri  and  sorwe  and  lamentaciouns 
His  liff  he  ladde,  in  gret  aduersite. 
And  so  he  deied  in  sorwe  and  pouerte, 
Sympli  buried,  for  al  his  grete  myht, 
Withynne  an  iland  that  stood  ferr  out  of  siht. 

2720.   sacrefie]  sacrifise  H,  sacrifice  R  3,  P.         2721.   shon]  om.  H. 
2722.   \ie  which  H.  2730.    boldli]  proudly  H. 

2732.    he  be  gan  H.  2737.   visage]  face  P'—  scorched  P. 

2742.   the]  l)at  H.  2758.   stood  ferr]  ferr^-  was  H. 


2724  Bishop  Azariah 
who,  with  hii 
eighty  priests 
behind  him, 
ordered  Uzziah 
off  the  premises. 


But  Uzziah 
told  them  to 
2732  hold  their 

tongues,  and 
suddenly  there 
was  an  earth- 
quake, and  the 
king's  face  was 
scorched  by  a 
ray  of  the  sun 
and  he  became 
a  leper,  and  a 
hill  split  in 
two  and  de- 
Kroyed  cities. 
Thus  God  took 
his  vengeance. 



Uzziah  wai 
cast  down  from 
his  throne  and 
sent  to  a  lazar 
house;    and 
„  when  he  died 
2740  he  was  buried 
without  cere- 
mony in  an 



278  Hoshea  captured  by  Shalmaneser  [[bk.  ii 

f  An  exortacion  to  Princis  to  be  auisid  to  do  ageyn 
goddis  Preceptes.^ 

Let  princes  be    T    AT  prvncis  all[e]  in  ther  prouidence 

careful  not  to        ■  -r.         -i  1  i 

offend  God;       -M^^  Be  Fiht  wcel  War  any  thyng  tattame,  2760 

repent  they  wU  Which  onto  God  sholde  been  offence, 
suffer  for  it.      j^j^^  ^^^^  ^^^  ^^^  conclude  to  ther  shame. 

Lat  them  thynke,  for  al  ther  noble  fame, 

But  thel  repente,  God  off  his  iustise  2764 

Ther  froward  pride  onwarH  will  chastise. 

And  let  them    Lat  hcm  be  wat  off  malice  to  presume 

not  meddle  •  1*11  1  rr         • 

with  the  affairs  Ageyn  his  cherche  to  doon  oitenciouw; 

God  will  not '    For  God  off  riht  all  tirantis  will  consume  2768 

permit  that,      j^^  £^j  shott  tyme  for  ther  presumpcioun. 

Which  wil  nat  suffre  ther  dominacioun 

To  interupte,  for  al  ther  grete  myht. 

Nor  breke  the  fraunchise  off  hooli  cherches  ryht.  2772 

Let  Uzziah's     To  prudent  pryncis,  which  that  can  discerne, 

example  teach     ^  ,  y      .  ■  i       j  i  *        rr 

prudent  princes  Lat  kyng  losias,  consiared  his  oirence, 
Jever°ence%o      Been  in  ther  mynde  a  merour  &  lanterne, 
holy  church,     'p^  hooH  cherchc  to  do  due  reuerence;  2776 

And  conceyue  in  ther  magnificence, 
God  will  off  riht,  be  thei  neuer  so  stronge. 
Chastise  ther  malice,  thouh  he  abide  longe. 

[How  kyng  Ozie  was  taken  bi  kyng  Salmanazar 
and  deied  in  prisoun.]]  ^ 

Another  king,    '  I  ^HER  was  a-uother,  that  callid  was 

called  Hoshea,  1  /-^    •  r  l  ^ 

was  taken  by  X  OziC,  [p.   I22J       2780 

fnl'i^rcrp'tive  Which  whilom  regned,  as  I  afferme  dar, 
into  Assyria,     j^^  Israel,  whom  Fortune  be  envie 

Made  hym  be  take  or  that  he  was  war, 

Besegid  aboute  off  kyng  Salmanazar;  2784 

And  in  Tassirie  vnder  his  daunger, 

The  Bible  tellith,  he  was  prisoner. 

His  towns  were  His  cites,  touws  btouht  to  desttucciouw, 

peopi7  en  slaved,  And  al  his  peeple  vnder  long  seruage  2788 

di"d  of°Sf.     Wer  take  and  kept  in  strong[e]  Babilouw, 

2772.   chirch  H.         2783.   that]  om.  H. 

2785.   vn  to  Assyrye  H,  in  to  Assirie  J,  R,  3,  into  Assirle   P, 
in  Tassyrye  H  5. 

1  The  same  heading  in  MS.  J.  leaf  50  verso. 

*  MS.  J.  leaf  50  verso. 

angel  slew  his 

BK.  ii]  Sennacherib  and  Zedekiah  279 

SufFred  ther  gret  peyne  &  gret  damage. 

And  in  a  presouw,  be  furious  outrage, 

This  said  Ozias,  in  cheynes  bounde  sore,  279a 

For  sorwe  deide :  ofF  hym  write  I  no  more. 

p5ow  Senacheryb  kyng  of  Assirie  was  slayne.]  ^ 

WITH  these  forsaid  woful  kynges  thre,  ^""^^iSk 

Senacherib,  off  Assirie  kyng,  upon,  com- 

/^  T    1        rt       1  1  *  plained  how  he 

Cam  to  lohn  oochas,  most  ougli  on  to  see,  2796  was  brought  to 

Ful  pitousli  his  fate  compleynyng.  °°"^  ^' 

And  speciali  his  onwar  chauwgyng 

He  gan  bewaile,  oppressid  in  his  thouht. 

From  hih  noblesse  how  he  was  brouht  to  nouht.  2800 

His  renoun  spradde  thoruh  many  dyuers  rewm,  Kis  renown 

A       1  !•        iir   1  1  r  "'^^  gre^U  and 

And  peeplis  all[ej  gan  hym  magnefae;  he  uid  siege 

A]       1    •  1  T  1  to  Jerusalem, 

Siege  he  laide  onto  lerusalem,  but  God's 

In  the  tyme  off  kyng  Sedechie.  2804 

But  in  his  most  froward  surquedie, 

Godis  aungel  tofor  the  cite 

An  hundrid  thousand  slouh  off  his  meyne. 

And  the  mor  to  maken  hym  afferd,  2808  Jf'^i^fT*^!,  .j. 
Mid  off  his  peeple,  the  silue  same  nyht,  »  terrifi^  him 

Godis  aungel  shooff  awey  his  herd  away  and  wa$ 

With  a  sharp  suerd  that  shon  cleer  &  bryht.  byTs^s^nf '° 

Leffte  his  siege  &  took  hym  onto  flyht;  2812 
And  in  a  temple,  his  goddis  worshepyng, 
His  sonys  slouh  hym  as  he  sat  knelyng. 

[How  kyng  Sedechie/  for  fals  forsweryng  was  slayn 
and  made  blynde  in  prisoun.]]  ^ 

TOUCHYA^G  the  compleynt  of  kyng  Sedechie,     Zcdekiah's  nory 
-       ,       ~  ,  .  *^    /  1  'is  told  in  the 

And  oit  his  sorwes  to  shewe  the  maner,        2816  Bible. 

Hooli  Writ  dooth  cleerli  specefie,  jeLiachin  and 

Wherfore  it  were  but  veyn  to  telle  hem  heer.  chnTrln*were 

For  ther  men  may  the  processe  pleynli  ler,  ]^^^°  captive 

How  loachym,  kyng  off  lerusalem,  2820 

His  owne  brother,  was  lad  out  off  his  rewm. 

2794.  With]  And  wit*  H,  R  3,  H  5. 

2802.  peeple  H,  peple  R  3,  pepyll  H  5  —  peeplis  all]  all  people 

P.  2812.   onto]  to  J)e  H. 

2819.  men]  ye  H  —  may]  om.  J. 

^  MS.  J.  leaf  50  verso.  *  MS.  J.  leaf  51  recto. 


The  Pride  of  Zedekiah 

[bK.  II 

Nebuchad-        WhcFofF  in  hcrte  he  felte  ful  gret  sor, 
grieved  This  Scdcchias,  as  it  is  ther  fouwde, 

Because  the  kyng  Nabugodonosor 
His  brother  heeld,  strong  in  prisouw  bouwde, 
Fulli  in  purpos  the  lewes  to  confouwde; 
For  this  tirant  hadde  in  that  mortal  strifF 
His  brethre,  childre  in  prisouw,  &  his  wiff. 

But  when         And  yit  this  tirant  in  his  tirannye 
nezzar  restored  This  fauour  dede  in  al  his  fell[e]  rage 

him  to  histhrone/~v  i  •  r   i   o     i       i  • 

on  condition     Unto  this  mostc  wotul  bedechie, 

of  paying  a 
yearly  tribute 
to  the 

he  became 
so  elated 
that  he 

forgot  his 
brother  and 
his  friends, 

To  sufFre  hym  regne  in  his  gret[e]  age, 
Fro  yeer  to  yeer  to  paie  hym  a  truage, 
Be  feith  and  oth  and  composiciouw, 
Reised  off  his  peeple  &  brouht  to  Babiloun. 

Yit  Sedechias  in  especiall, 

Be  a  maner  off  fals  felicite, 

HymselfF  reioished  in  his  see  roiall 

To  ocupie  that  noble  dignite, 

And  so  forgat  the  gret  aduersite 

Off  his  brother  and  other  freendis  all, 

Touchyng  the  myscheeff  that  thei  wer  in  fall, 

and  soon  QfF  pride  he  fill  into  presumpciouw, 

decided  that  he,_,,  ,  i-ii'i  i  oi*i 

would  not  pay   Whan  he  remembrid  his  brethre  &  his  lynage, 

his  tribute  any  r^  'iii  ri  ni 

longer.  Considred  how  rro  kyng  balamoun 

He  was  descendid  be  title  off  heritage, 
Gan  disdeyne  to  paien  his  truage, 
And  to  maligne,  in  herte  he  was  so  wroth. 
And  falsli  brak  his  surauwce  and  his  oth. 

He  thought  to  He  hadde  a  maner  indignaciouw, 
"Solomon  paid  Which  he  cauhte  off  old  remembraunce, 
t°ibu"e  was  paid  How  tymc  passid,  to  kyng  Salamoun, 
shou'id  I  dolt?"  Be  his  manli  prudent  gouernauwce, 
Kynges  aboute  for  a  recognisauwce 
Paied  tribut,  and  durst  it  nat  withseie 
Fro  yeer  to  yeer  his  noblesse  to  obeie. 

Which  thyng  remembrid  off  kyng  Sedechie, 
As  he  wex  gret  and  strong  in  his  puissauwce. 
Off  hih  disdeyn  his  tribut  gan  denye. 










So  he  rebelled 
against  the  king 
of  Babylon, 

2828.  brethre]  brothir  H,  brother  H  5,  brethern  P  —  children 


2830.  his]  this  H.       2832.   hym]  hem  H. 

2838.  reioysshyng  H.       2844.   2nd  his]  om.  H. 

BK.  Il] 

Zedekiah's  Faithlessness  and  Fall 


Sette  a-side  his  feith  and  assuraunce,  2860 

So  that  his  oth  stood  in  no  substaunce; 
For  he  ageyn  the  kyng  off  Babiloun 
Presumptuousli  fill  in  rebellious. 

And  his  kyngdam  to  strengthe  &  fortefie,  [p.  123]  2864  f?^'^'^ 

Thouhte  he  wolde  to  his  auauntage 

The  kyng  off  Egipt  haue  on  his  partie. 

Off  pride  he  fill  into  so  gret  outrage, 

That  he  no  mor  wolde  paien  his  truage;  2868 

But  fynali  such  weies  he  hath  souht, 

That  off  his  oth  litil  he  rouhte  or  nouht. 

king  of  Egypt, 
went  back  on 
his  promised 

But  O  alas,  it  is  a  doolful  thyng 

To  be  remembred,  in  hih  or  low  degre, 

That  any  prynce  or  any  worthi  kyng 

Sholde  false  his  oth  or  ontrewe  be; 

Or  that  men  sholde  such  variaunce  see 

In  ther  corages,  which  been  so  hih[e]  bom, 

For  any  cause  falsli  to  be  forsworn. 

Be  report  it  doth  ther  fame  trouble, 
Infortuneth  and  clipseth  ther  noblesse. 
Whan  a  prynce  is  ofl^  his  heste  double, 
And  chargith  nat,  ofl"^  wilful  reclesnesse, 
Al-be  his  promys  conclude  on  doubilnesse. 
Thouh  God  a  while  suffre  hem  and  respite. 
At  onset  hour  ther  falsnesse  he  will  quite. 

His  wamyng  ofFte  he  sent  to  them  afFor, 
Because  thei  lacke  prudent  policie. 
Record  I  take  off  Nabugodonosor, 
Which  cam  onwarli  on  kyng  Sedechie, 
For  he  his  tribut  gan  falsli  hym  denye; 
With  al  his  power,  as  he  dede  abraide, 
To  Jerusalem  a  myhti  siege  he  laide. 

Thei  withynne  constreyned  were  off  neede. 
The  kyng  hymsilfF,  ther  was  no  bett  difFence, 
With  manys  flessh  his  peeple  for  to  feede, 
Whil  the  Caldeies  be  myhti  violence, 
Off  verai  force,  withoute  resistence, 
On  fals  forsweryng  for  to  taken  wrake, 
Ther  myhti  tour[e]s  and  ther  wallis  brake. 

which  is 

a  shameful  thing 
2872  for  any  prince 
or  king  to  do. 


It   injure*  their 
good  name  and 
eclipses  their 
noblesse,  and 
2880  God  is  sure  to 
punish  them 
for  it. 



The  result  was, 
that  Nebu- 
suddenly  de- 
on  Zedekiah, 

2892  '*i<^  siege  to  Je- 
rusalem, starved 
the  Jews  into 
eating    one 
another,  de- 
stroyed the  city 
and  killed  most 

2896  °^  ^^^  people- 

2879.   Infortunatith  R  3  —  eclipsith  H,  R  3. 
2888.   on]  vpon  H.       2894.   peeplis  H. 

282  The  End  of  Zedekiah  [bk.  II 

Zedekiah  was    To  slcii  and  killc  thei  list  non  for  to  spare, 

put  in  chains,       __^,  ,      .  .         ,  ., 

his  children  slain,  Whom-euer  thci  mette  or  cam  in  ther  siht;  2900 

handeTover  to  Scdcchias  IcfFtc  the  toun  al  bare, 
hireyfs"ent°out.  But  take  hc  was,  as  he  hym  took  to  fliht, 
In  cheynys  bouwde  and  fetrld  anon  riht, 
In  whose  presence,  tencrece  his  peynes  anon,        2904 
His  yonge  childre  were  slay[e]n  euerichon. 

His  wyues  all,  most  woful  ofF  ther  cheres, 

Which  in  ther  tyme  most  goodli  were  and  fair, 

Delyuered  wern  in  handis  ofFstrauwgeres;  2908 

And  mor,  alas,  to  putte  hym  in  dispair. 

Into  his  kyngdam  neuer  to  ha[ue]  repair. 

With  sharp[e]  tonges,  it  was  to  gret  a  peyne. 

Out  off  his  hed  wer  rent  his  eien  tweyne.  2912 

His  city  Off  lerusalem  his  cite  was  ibrent 

Jerusalem  was     _.,  ^     .  ,    .  i  i     j 

burnt  to  the      rleyn  to*  the  ground  mto  assnes  dede. 

treasure  sent  to  His  gret  richesse,  his  tresour  hooli  sent 

|ed''m"se?rbiy '  To  Babilouw,  with  stonys  bleu  and  rede;  2916 

in  prison.         Vcsselis  ofF  gold,  which  richest  wer  in  deede, 

Withoute  merci  or  remissiouw, 

Caldeies  took  to  ther  possessiouw. 

That  is  what    And  thus  in  sotwe  and  in  wrechidnesse  2920 

perjury  leads  to.  tt       i    •     i        i  r  i   • 

He  deied,  alas,  tetred  m  prisoun. 
Loo,  heer  the  eende  off  periurie  &  falsnesse! 
Loo,  how  Fortune  can  turnen  vp-so-dou« 
Off  mortal  men  the  condicioun:  2924 

Now  richest  shynyng  in*  prosperite. 
With  onwar  chauwg  to  hatful  pouerte. 
What  do  royal    Now  men  Icfft  up  to  roial  dignites, 
people  who  are  Now  hih  aloffte  be  fulsum  habundauwce:  2928 

themT""^^ '°     But  what  auaileth  to  sitte  in  roial  sees 
To  folk  that  han  therin  non  assurauwce, 
Namli  whan  Fortune  holdeth  the  balaunce. 
Which  ay  off  custum  onto  hih  estatis  2932 

Hath  a  fals  ioie  to  shewen  hir  chekmatis. 

Record  I  take  off  pryncis  mo  than  on, 
uStaiT  became  Ther  woful  fatis  hanging  in  iupartie, 
dieTIn  ^fs^^'.^'^Remembrid  late,  and  among  echon  2936 

2904.   peyn  H. 

2913.  ibrent]  brent  J. 

2914.  to]  into  B,  J,  H,  P,  H  5  —  the]  om.  H  5. 
2925.   in]inhih  B,  J,  in  hygh  H  S-       2930.   have  H. 
2935.   hangyng]  havyng  H. 

BK.  ii]  King  Astyages  and  bis  Grandson  Cyrus 

The  woful  fal  off  kyng  Amazie, 

His  sone  eek  lepre,  which  callid  was  losie, 

And  last  off  all[e],  how  in  Babiloun, 

Kyng  Sedechias  deied  in  prisoun.  2940 


^  Lenvoye. 

NOBLE  Pryncis,  considreth  the  fallas 
Off  Fortunys  froward  flat[e]rie; 
Seeth  hir  deceites  in  many  dyu^rs  cas, 
How  she  first  mokkid  manh  Amazie,  2944 

Which  slay[e]n  was  for  his  surquedie 
To  yeue  you  wamyng,  bexaumple  as  ye  may  reede, 
Whan  ye  sit  hiest,  your  fal  is  most  to  dreede. 

And  as  it  is  remembred*  in  Bochas,     [p.  124] 

Eek  in  the  Bible  off  the  kyng  losie, 

In  his  tyme  how  famous  that  he  was 

Bothe  off  richesse  and  off  cheualrie, 

Punshed  with  lepre,  bookis  specefie. 

For  his  presumyng:  remembrith  this  in  deede, 

Whan  ye  sit  hiest,  yowr  fal  is  most  to  dreede. 

Al  worldli  glorie*  fleeth  hens  a  gret[e]  pas, 

I  take  witnesse  off  kyng  Sedechie; 

For  fals  forsweryng  he  slay[e]n  was,  alas! 

Maad  blynd  in  prisoun;  this  story  cannat  lie. 

Thus  sheweth  Fortune,  thoruh  hir  froward  envie. 

To  you,  Pryncis,  yif  ye  list  taken  heede,  2960 

Whan  ye  sit  hiest,  your  fal  is  most  to  dreede. 

[How  kyng  Astriages  labored  to  disherite  Cirus/  but 
god  suffrid  his  malice  not  to  preuaile.J  ^ 

A  FFTIR  these  kynges,  on  folwed  in  the  pres, 
-^^  And  gan  to  Bochaj-  his  cowpleynt  discure; 
And  he  was  callid  the  grete  Astriages, 
Which  tolde  in  ordre  his  vnkouth  auenture, 
Lord  off  Asie,  as  bookis  us  assure. 
And  hadde  off  tresour  duryng  al  his  liff 
A-boue  alle  kyuges  a  prerogatiff.  2968 

2948.  is  remembred]  remembreth  B,  remembrith  J,  H  5. 

2949.  2nd  the]  om  H.         2955.  gloire  B.         2958.  this]  his  H. 
2963.   to  discure  H.       2964.   Astiages  P. 

^  MS.  J.  leaf  51  verso. 

Noble  Princes, 
when  you  sit 
highest,  then  it 
your  fall  most  to 
be  dreaded. 

2048  Remember   how 
Uzziah  was  pun- 
ished for  his 


and  how  King 
Zedekiah  was 
2956  slain  for 


After  these 
kings  followed 
Astyages,  the 
richest  mince  of 
2904  his  tim? 

284  '^he  Dream  of  Astyages  [bk.  ii 

He  lacked        Most  foFtunat  in  al  his  gouernaile, 

nothing  but  a      „    ,  ~,  „  , 

male  heir,        T  Cite  oiT  T  OFtunc  non  aducrsite, 

SaufF  an  heir  male,  nothyng  dede  hym  faile; 

For  he  most  glorious  sat  in  his  roial  see:  2972 

Off  worldli  welthe  he  lakked  no  plente, 

Except  onli,  as  clerkis  off  hym  write, 

He  hadde  no  sone  his  kyngdam  tenherite, 

and  once  dreamt  Which  to  his  welthe  was  gtct  disencres,  2976 

of  a  vine  that       ^  •  r    •!     i   •      i  •     i 

grew,  and  a       Lest  succcssiouw  tailed  m  his  lyne. 

cie'a?'^slX!' A  douhter  had  he  callid  Mundanes, 

daughter^' '"^'^"^  ofF  whos  wombe,  as  bookis  determyne, 

womb^b^'th       ^^  drempte  a-nyht[e]  how  he  sauh  a  vyne  2980 

spreading  over   Jn  his  auesiouw,  with  hym  so  it  stood, 

Ouer  al  Asie  his  braunchis  spredde  abrod. 
He  hadde  also  a  reuelaciouw, 

Slepyng  a-nyht[e]  afFtir  his  souper,  2984 

Thouh  he  nat  knew  thexposicioun, 
He  thouhte  he  sauh  a  cristallyn  ryuer. 
With  lusti  watris,  as  any  berell  cleer, 
Out  off  hir  wombe,  with  his  stremys  fressh  2988 

The  soil  of  Asie  make  tendre  and  nessh. 
and  could  not    Touchyng  this  reucr  and  this  lusty  vyne 

understand  what ,._      ,       -^     °,  ,   .      ,  . 

it  meant,  1  o  hym  shcwed  in  his  auisiouw, 

Withynwe  hymsilfF  he  coud[e]  nat  termyne,  2992 

TherofF  to  fynde  no  cleer  conclusioun 

Withoute  sum  maner  exposiciouw 

To  hym  declared  be  folkis  in  sentence. 

Which  ofF  such  dremys  hadde  experience.  2996 

until  his  To  hym  he  callid  his  astronomeris, 

philosophers  and  __.         i   .i-  i  i   i  •       i 

diviners  His  philisophres  and  his  dyuynours. 

That  knew  the  meuyng  ofF  the  nyne  speeris, 
Ymages  ofF  sterris,  ther  houses  &  ther  tours;         3000 
And  such  as  wern  expert  expositours. 
And  whan  thei  wern  assemblid  euerichon, 
Touchyng  his  drem  thei  corded  all  in  on. 
told  him  that  his  To  telle  hym  trouthe  thei  wer  nat  rec[e]les,  —      3004 
havl  rwn,°by  Saide  his  douhter,  fro  whom  ther  cam  a  vyne, 
he°wlw beput  She  that  be  name  was  callid  Mundanes, 
dom°^  ThUwa.  Sholde  haue  a  sone  descendyng  from  his  lyne, 
to  be  his  fate.    Whos  noble  fame  thoruh  Asia  sholde  shyne,  3008 

Which  sholde  [hym]  putte,  thoruh  his  hih  renoun, 
Be*  force  ofF  armys  out  ofF  his  regioun. 
3009.    hym]  om.  J  —  hym  putte]  pull  hym  H. 
31 10.    Be]  Hym  be  B,  j  —  armys]  hys  armes  P. 

BK.  ii]      Astyages  marries  bis  Daughter  to  Cambyses  285 

This  was  his  fate;  he  myhte  it  nat  refuse,  whereupon  he 

The  heuenli  cours  but  it  dede  faile.  3012  woiSd  t^y^o 

Wherupon  he  sore  gan  to  muse,  *^°"^ "' 

Such  fantasies  dede  his  herte  assaile; 

Fill  in  gret  doubte  off  ther  dyuynaile, 

Thouhte  he  wolde  make  purueiaunce  3016 

For  to  withstonde  Godis  ordenaunce. 

Ful  hard  it  is  to  make  resistence  although  men 

Geyn  thyng  ordeyned,  whan  God  will  that  it  be;        Slye^^hT* 
And  namli  ther,  wher  as  influence  3020  '^'^^'^^• 

Off  heuene  aboue  hath  shape  a  destyne: 
Sum  men  recorde  that  no  man  may  it  fle. 
The  doom  off  this,  wher  that  it  holde  or  flitte, 
Tastronomeris  al  hooli  I  committe.  3024 

This  said[e]  kyng,  off  whom  I  spak  but  late,  So  the  kin« 

Caste  he  wolde,  for  his  auauntage,  to  ^\\% 

The  ordenaunce  reuersen  and  the  fate  s^mf^r.V 

Off  the  heuene,  with  al  the  surplusage,  3028  S?*""'''^ 

And  yeue  his  doubter  as  in  mariage 
To  sum  onworthi  poore  infortunat 
That  neuer  were  likli  to  rise  to  hih  estat. 

And   in   this  wise,   kyng  AstriageS  [p.    125]  3032  and  married  her 

Maried  his  doubter,  as  in  his  entent,  n°amed  a°rS'^ 

To  on  onworthi  callid  Cambises,  ttTght  n^uity 

Deemyng  therbi,  be  short  auysement,  ^d  notV°°^ 

Withynne  hymselff  that  he  was  riht  prudent,  3036  gr"iateut 
Wenyng  that  noblesse  cam  be  discent  off  blood,  such  men  as 

And  nat  be  grace,  nor  as  the  heuene  stood.  posJ^  ^° 

moral  virtue. 

In  his  resoun  was  nat  comprehendid. 

How  Socrates,  maistir  off  Platoun,  3040 

Off  ful  low  bed  bi  berthe  was  descendid. 

And  nat  tenherite  kyngdam  nor  regioun, 

■But  for  to  haue  fulli  possessioun 

Off  moral  vertu  and  philosophic,  3044 

Duryng  his  liff  his  witt  he  dede  applie. 

He  souhte  contrees  for  wisdam  and  science,  discovered  that 

And  secre  cunnynges  to  serch[e]  dede  his  peyne;  imm^,^r" 

And  he  fond  out  thoruh  his  deligence,  3048 

3012.   faile]  falle  H. 

3022.   men]  om.  H.       3025.   saide]  same  H. 

3031.   likli]  like  H.       3041.   bi  berthe]  om.  H. 


Royalty  depends  on  the  Grace  of  God  [^bk.  ii 

This  philisophre,  as  bookis  acerteyne, 

To  ioie  reserued  outher  onto  peyne, 

Be  grace  off  God,  which  is  eternall, 

How  menys  soulis  be  fouwde  ay  inmortall.  3052 

and  was  judged  The  gFcte  Appollo,  ill  bookis  it  is  founde, 

by  Apollo  to  be    --,     ~,T  ~,  .  i      m 

the  wisest        GaiT  lugemeiit  oft  equite  and  riht, 
hUtime!*""^    That  Socrates  in  vertu  most  habouwde. 

And  most  preferrid  in  eueri  manys  siht,  3056 

Was  callid  ofFwisdam  the  lanterne  &  the  liht, 
And  wisest  named,  at  evyn  and  at  pryme, 
Off  phiHsophres  that  wer  in  his  tyme. 

and  Euripides,  The  poete  also  calHd  Euripides,  3060 

most  honourable  Most  honoutable  calHd  in  that  age, 
mo\her^was'^    Al-be  his  mooder  ofF  lifF  was  rec[e]les 
wrote  ma*n°/      And  contagious  thoruh  vicious  outrage: 
tort"  tmh  Yit  was  this  poete,  for  al  his  vil  lynage,  3064 

to  all.  Mosl  vertuous  fouwden  at  assaies, 

OfF  alle  poetis  that  wer  in  his  daies. 

Callid  in  his  tyme  a  gret  tragician. 

Because  he  wrot  many  tragedies,  3068 

And  wolde  ofF  trouthe  spare  no  maner  man, 

But  hem  rebuken  in  his  poetries, 

Touchyng  the  vices  ofF  flesshli  fantasies, 

Compleyne  in  pryncis  ther  deedis  most  horible,    3072 

And  ech  thyng  punshe  that  was  to  God  odible. 

Demosthenes,    A-nother  clerk  callid  Demostenes, 

greatest  of  _,,  ,.,,.. 

rhetoricians,       1  fie  moste  subtil  retfioncian, 

man,  yet  he^'i^s  And  most  inuentifF  among  al  the  pres,  3076 

That  euer  was  sithe[n]  the  world  began, 
Al-be  ofF  berthe  he  was  a  poore  man, 
Yit  hadde  he  most  souereyn  excellence 
Mong  philisophres  ofF  speche  &  eloquence.  3080 

So  it  would  seem  Be  which  exauwplc,  me  semeth  dout[e]les, 

that  royal  blood  _,,  •    i   i  i        j  i  i  M     l 

and  high  lineage  1  fiat  roial  blood,  uoutfier  fiih  lynage 

are  of  but  small    rr>  i  i  .11^  1 

advantage  with-  1  o  meuMys  berthe  yeueth  but  smal  encres, 

gn  the  grace  of  ^^^  ^^^^  ^^^^^  ^^^  jj^jj  ^uaUWtage  I  3084 

For  hih  noblesse  taketh  nat  his  corage 
OIF  riche  nor  poore,  nor  statis  souereyne. 
But  ofF  his  grace,  as  God  list  to  ordeyne. 

3056.  euerij  any  H. 

3073.  punysh  H,  punnysch  R  3,  punysshed  H  5,  punishe  P. 

3074.  Domestenes  J.      3082.  nouther]  nor  J,  P. 

the  most 

BK.  Il] 

The  Childhood  of  Cyrus 


Wherfore,  ofF  foli  kyng  Astriages, 

Contrariousli  ageyn  al  gent[e]rie, 

Bad  that  his  douhter  callid  Mundanes, 

First  whan  folk  with  childe  hir  dede  espie, 

For  tacomplishe  his  froward  fantasie, 

Whan  it  wer  born,  chargyng  aboue  all  thyng, 

Off  Archanye  to  bem  it  to  the  kyng. 

Which  in  that  tyme  was  callid  Arpagus; 
And,  as  I  fynde,  he  dede  in  vertu  floure. 
And  pite*  hadde,  the  story  tellith  thus. 
That  beestis  sholde  the  litil  child  deuoure. 
But  God  that  may  in  myscheeff  best  socoure, 
To  keepe  the  child  was  nat  rek[e]les, 
Ageyn  the  malice  off  kyng  Astriages, 

Which  hadde  comaundid  off  malice  &  hatreede, 
How  that  this  child,  greene  &  tendre  off  age, 
Bi  Arpagus  sholde  be  cast  in  deede 
To  be  deuoured  off  beestis  most  sauage. 
But  for  he  dradde  to  doon  so  gret  outrage. 
To  his  shepperde,  hymselff  to  stonde  at  large, 
The  child  to  slen  he  fulli  gaff  the  charge. 

3088  Astyages  was 
^  foolish  and  not 

a  gentleman,  for 
he  commanded 
Mandane's  new- 
bom  child  to  be 
taken  to  Har- 
pagus  to  be  cart 
3092  out  to  wild 



But  Harpagus 
was  afraid  to 
put  the  child  to 
death  and  told 
3104  his  shepherd  to 
do  it. 


[How  yong  Cirus  was  in  to  the  Forest/  cast  with 
bestys  to  be  devoured.^  ^ 

THIS  heerdeman,  albe  that  he  was  loth 
To  execute  this  woful  auenture, 
Inta  forest  foorth  with  the  child  he  goth, 
And  gaff  to  beestis  that  litil  creature; 
Whom  to  fostre,  be  grace  ageyn  nature, 
A  wilde  bichche  hir  whelpis  ther  forsook. 
And  to  hir  pappis  the  litil  child  she  took. 

And  with  hir  mylk  she  made  hym  suppe  & 

dyne,  [p.  126] 

And  bisi  was  fro*  hym  to  enchace 
Wilde  foulis  and  beestis  sauagyne, 

3091,   did  hir  H. 

3094,   Hircanye  P.       3095.   Harpagus  P. 

3097.   pite]  spiht  B,  J,  spyte  P. 

3102.   hadde]  om.  H.       3108.   2nd  the]  in  H. 

3111.   Inta]  In  to  a  H,  J,  R  3,  H  5,  P. 

3117.   fro]  for  B,  H,  H  5.       3118.   bestis  &  foulis  H. 

*  MS.  J.  leaf  52  recto,  in  margin. 

The  shepherd, 
although  un- 
willing, took  the 
child  into  a 
forest,  where  it 
was  suckled  by 
31 12  a  wild  bitch. 

Behold  how  God 
can  preserve  in- 
3 1 16  nocents  from 

288  Cyrus  preserved  by  a  Wild  Bitch  [bk.  ii 

That  non  ne  durste  neihhen  to  that  place. 

Loo,  how  that  God  disposer!  can  his  grace,  3120 

Innocentis  fro  myscheefF  to  preserue 

Geyn  fals  envie,  which  wolde  make  hem  sterue! 

JnnaS^iTcf'  O  blood  onkyndc,  founden  in  kynreede, 
murdlr^f  child"  ^^^  couetisc,  O  blood  disnaturall  3124 

°n^^hom^even  Off  falg  malice,  O  blood  ful  off  hatreede!  — 
pity!  To  moordre  a  child  born  off  the  stok  roiall! 

Wher  manys  resoun  is  turned  bestiall, 
Falsli  transfourmed  onto  cruelte,  3128 

To  slen  a  child  wher  beestis  han  pite! 

EdsmTn'^oid  The  celi  heerde  hath  told  his  wifFthe  cas; 

the  "^hud^^nd  ^"^  ^^  ^"*^"  °ff  P^*^  ^^^^  arise, 

she  went' with  With  hir  husbonde  wente  a  ful  eret  pas  313a 

him  to  the  forest  _  ip  iiii  ii- 

to  see  it,  and     Into  the  totest,  beholdyng  al  the  guise, 
amis'  '°  "    As  heer-tofor[e]n  ye  han  herd  deuyse, 

Seyng  the  child,  with  lippis  tendre  &  sofFte, 

The  bichchis  pappis  how  he  sok  ful  offte.  3136 

The  said[e]  heerde  callid  Sparagos, 

His  wifF  also,  off  whom  toforn  I  tolde. 

This  yonge  child  took  in  ther  depos; 

And  in  hir  armys  she  sofFtli  gan  it  folde.  3140 

And  he  ful  goodli  hir  face  gan  beholde, 

And  on  his  maner  in  the  same  while, 

In  childli  wise  on  hir  gan  to  smyle. 

and  fed  it.       The  childcs  lauhtre  whan  she  dede  aduerte,  3144 

wild  bitch  stood  With  al  hir  hool[e]  feithful  dilligence 
angn  y  at   ay   gj^^  ^^^  ^^  chcrishe  it,  and  with  al  hir  herte 
She  gafF  it  souk,  with  ful  gret  reuerence, 
Albe  the  bichche  made  resistence,  3148 

Compleynyng  stood  felli  at  abay, 
The  litil  child  whan  she  sauh  lad  away. 

and  howled       Ful  pitousH  she  gan  to  houle  and  crie, 

when  she  earned    .J  ■,  iirii  i 

it  home  with  her.  At  ther  dcpartyng  dooltully  compieyne,  3152 

And  afFtir  them  ful  faste  gan  to  hie, 
The  child  to  lete  she  felte  so  gret  a  peyne. 
Loo,  how  that  God  oiF  merci  can  ordeyne 
A  cruel  beeste  such  sorwe  for  to  make,  3156 

And  so  to  mourne  for  a  childes  sake! 

3137.   Spargos  P.       3153-   to3  she  H. 

BK.  Il] 

Gyms'  Life  is  preserved 


But  eueri  thyng  that  God  will  ha[ue]  preserued, 
Ne  may  nat  faile  to  stonde  in  sekimesse. 
His  secre  doomys  been  to  hymsilfF  reserued; 
Ther  can  no  man  expowne  hem,  as  I  gesse. 
For  he  shoop  first  that  this  shepperdesse, 
Off  Sparagos  the  trewe  poore  wiff, 
For  to  be  mene  to  saue  the  childes  liff. 

Horn  to  hir  hous  the  child  she  ladde  anon, 
And  it  to  fostre  dede  hir  besynesse: 
Off  othir  salari,  God  wot,  knew  she  non, 
Sauff  that  hir  herte  therto  dede  hir  dresse. 
And  mor  enterli,  the  story  berth  witnesse. 
She  tendrid  hym,  and  with  mor  besi  cure, 
Than  hym  that  was  hir  child  bom  off  nature. 

And  as  the  story  pleynli  doth  expresse, 
This  yonge  child,  as  he  wex  in  age. 
Fro  day  to  day  encreced  in  noblesse, 
Lik  for  to  been  riht  manli  off  corage. 
Cirus  callid  he  was  in  that  language, 
To  seyne  in  Latyn  pleynli  in  substaunce, 
A  man  ibom  to  gret  enheritaunce. 

And  whan  the  renoun  off  his  excellence 

Bi  long  processe,  and  off  his  gret  encres 

Cam  be  report  onto  the  audience 

Off  his  aiel,  the  grete  Astriages, 

And  how  the  kyng  was  founde  rech[e]Ies, 

Callid  Arpagus,  for  to  do  vengauwce 

On  yonge  Cirus,  he  fill  in  displesaunce. 

This  is  to  meene  Astriages  was  wroth, 
That  Arpagus  was  founde  merciable 
Cirus  to  saue,  and  for  that  he  was  loth 
Ageyn[e]s  al  riht  for  to  be  vengable 
To  slen  a  child,  a  thyng  nat  comendable,  — 
Demyng  off  trouthe  in  his  conscience, 
God  was  nat  paied,  to  moordre  innocence. 

Astriages  caste  hym  to  be  wreke 
On  Arpagus  be  fals  collusioun. 
Because  that  he  his  biddyng  dede  breke, 
And  was  contraire  to  his  entencioun 
Cirus  to  slen,  ageyn[es]  al  resoun. 
And  for  that  cause  Astriages,  I  reede, 
Off  Arpagus  leet  slen  the  child  in  deede. 

What  God 
wishes  preserved 
is  safe.     God 
saw  to  ii  that 
3160  the  shepherdess 
rescued  the 
child  out  of  the 
goodness  of 
her  heart. 


She  cared  for 
him  better  than 
if  he  had  been 
her  own. 


^172  Th*y  named 
him  Cyrus, 
which  means  in 
Latin  a  man 
bom  to  great 


When  Astyages 
heard  of  all 
3180  this,  he  was 
•  furious  with 


because  he  did 
not  kill  Cyrus; 



so  he  slew 
Harpagus'  son 
out  of  revenge. 



Cyrus  and  Harpagus 

[bk.  II 

and  had  him 
roasted  and 
served  up  to 
his  father  at 
table,  a  most 
thing  to  do. 

This  to  seyne,  be  ful  fals  compassyng     [p.  127]     3200 

And  couert  moordre,  wrouht  bi  Astriages, 

The  sone  was  slayn  off  Arpagus  the  kyng, 

And  afFtir  rested,  alias,  ful  causeles, 

And  sithe  presentid,  amongis  al  the  pres,  3204 

Toforn  his  fader,  a  thyng  most  lamentable, 

With  Astriages  as  he  sat  at*  table. 

When  Harpagus  But  whan  this  kyng  callid  Arpagus 

found  out  this      ^^  iiii-  i  mi 

horrible  murder,  Conceyued  hath  this  moordre  most  terrible,  3208 

a  rage  And  how  his  sone  &  heir  was  slay[e]n  thus. 

In  his  ire  most  furious  and  odible, 

In  al  the  haste  that  it  was  possible. 

He  is  repaired  horn  to  his  houshold,  3212 

And  al  the  cas  to  Cirus  he  hath  told. 

And  how  his  sone  was  slay[e]n  for  his  sake, 

In  the  most  hatful  odious  cruelte, 

Excityng  hym  with  hym  to  vndirtake  3216 

On  this  fals  moordre  auengid  for  to  be, 

To  hym  declaryng  off  trouthe  &  equite. 

How  he  was  bor[e]n  be  discent  in  deede. 

As  riht[e]  heir  to  regne  in  Perse  &  Mede.  3220 

To  hym  declaryng  the  stori  bi  and  bi. 

First  off  the  drem  off  Astriages, 

And  how  that  he  be  fraude  ful  falsli 

Made  his  doubter,  callid  Mundanes,  3224 

Poorli  be  weddid  onto  Cambises, 

Which  was  his  mooder,  &  how  in  tendre  age 

He  was  out  cast  to  beestis  ful  sauage. 

All  things  that   Be  a  shcpperde  and  a  shepperdesse  3228 

God    disposes      t->  i   i  •  ^r   l  ^ 

must  come  to    Fostted  he  was  m  gret[ej  pouerte, 
wa'sVeordarn'^d  And  brouht  fro  beestis  out  off  wildirnesse, 
ruie^r'of Til  Asia.  Because  God  wolde  he  sholde  saued  be: 

For  thilke  Lord,  which  euery-thyng  may  see,        3232 
Whan  that  he  hath  a  thyng  aforn  disposid, 
Nedis  it  mut  fall  &  may  nat  be  deposid. 

This  said[e]  Cirus,  at  his  natyuyte, 
Ordeyned  was  be  reuolucioun  3236 

Off  the  heuenli  speeris,  in  noumbre  thries  thre, 
(So  stood  that  tyme  his  constellaciouw,) 

and  told  Cyrus 
what  had  hap- 
pened, urging 
him  to  take 
vengeance  and 
telling  him  that 
he  was  the 
lawful  heir  to 
Astyages'  king- 
dom, and  how 
his  grandfather 
had  cast  him 
out  to  be  eaten 
by  wild  beasts. 

3206.   at]  attheB,  H  s,  P. 
3215.   odious  hateful!  H. 
3233.   aforn]  be  for  H. 

3 1 19.   How]  owi.  R  3,  P. 

BK.  Il] 

Cyrus  born  to  be  King  of  Asia 


That  he  sholde  haue  the  domynacioun 
Ouer  al  Asie,  be  influence  dyuyne, 
Aforn  figured  be  spredyng  off  the  vyne. 

What  may  the  fraude  off  sleihti  folk  auaile, 
Innocentis  to  putte  out  off  ther  riht? 
Thouh  trouthe  be  hid  amongis  the  poraile, 
Hard  brouht  foorth,  &  dar  nat  shewe  his  Hht, 
Yit  God  will  ordeyne  that  the  bemys  briht 
Shal  sum  o  day  shewe  out  his  cleemesse, 
Maugre  all  tho  that  wolde  his  title  oppresse. 

For  this  Cirus,  as  clerkis  off  hym  write, 
Was  hi  the  title  off  his  mooder  side 
Bom  to  be  kyng  al  Asie  tenherite, 
Al-be  his  aiel  from  hym  wolde  it  deuide; 
But  God,  that  can  for  trouthe  best  prouide, 
Hath  for  Cirus  be  processe  so  ordeyned. 
That  he  off  Asie  the  lordshep  hath  atteyned. 

Cirus  that  tyme  was  growe  up  weel  on  lengthe, 

Weel  proporciownyd  off  membris  &  stature. 

Wonder  delyuer,  &  passyng  oflf  gret  strengthe, 

Straunge  emprises  proudli  to  endure; 

And  to  iuparte  &  putte  in  auenture 

His  owne  persone,  the  fame  was  ofF  hym  so, 

Was  non  mor  likli  wher  men  sholde  haue  a-do. 

And  bi  the  counsail  ofi"  kyng  Arpagus, 

Whan  this  Cirus  was  weel  waxe  in  age. 

With  Perciens  proude  &  surquedous. 

And  Archanytes  cruel  off  corage. 

For  to  recure  his  rihtful  heritage 

Be  go  with  Cirus,  armed  in  plate  &  maile. 

With  Astriages  to  holden  [a]  bataile. 

And  he  ageynward  gan  to  taken  heede. 
And  with  hym  took[e]  many  worthi  knyht. 
With  al  the  puissaunce  off  the  lond  off  Mede 
Hath  take  the  feeld  the  same  dai  foorth-ryht, 
To  disherite  Cirus  off  his  ryht. 
But  God  and  trouthe  was  atwen  hem  tweyne 
Egal  iuge  ther  quarel  to  dareyne. 

3241.  spredyng]  spryngj'ng  H. 

3256.  up  weel  on]  wele  vpon  H. 

3259.  Straunge]  Strong  H. 

3269.  a]om.  J,  P. 


What  can  the 
fraud  of  men 
avail  to  rob 
innocents  of 
3244  their  rights? 



Cyrus  wa»  bom 
to  be  king  of 
Asia,  and  in 
spite  of  Asty- 
ages,  God's  will 

72?6  Cjmjs  grew  up 
into  a  strong, 
well-built  man 


and  by  Har- 

pagus'  advice 
3264  set  out  to  give 
battle  to  Asty- 


Astyages  took 
the  field  the 
same  day,  with 
all  the  power  of 
3272  Media, 


292  Cyrus  conquers  Astyages  [[bk.  II 

but  Cyrus  won.  The  fccld  ordcyncd,  &  splaied  ther  baneris, 
On  outher  parti  ful  proudli  on  thel  sette, 
At  thassemblyng  lik  liouws  off  ther  cheris, 
In  the  face  as  thei  fersli  mette  3280 

With  rouwde  speris,  ful  sharp[e]  grouwde  &  whette, 
Til  that  Cirus,  off  grace  mor  than  noumbre, 
Off  his  aiel  the  parti  dede  encouwbre. 

and,  pursuing  his  This  myhti  Citus,  this  yonge  champiouM,  [p.  128]  3284 
ages  prisoner.    Thoruhout  the  fecld  gan  such  a  slauhtre  make, 
With  his  knyhtis  as  he  wente  up  and  doun, 
That  as  the  deth  his  fomen  hym  forsake. 
Astriages  vnder  his  baner  take,  3288 

The  feeld  venquysshid,  for  al  his  fals  veynglorie. 
To  shewe  that  riht  hath  alwey  the  victorie. 

A  man  may      A  man  off  malice  may  a  thyng  purpose 

purpose  a  thmg  _^.  r  ^  i 

of  malice,  but   Bi  a  maner  iroward  prouydence;  3292 

disposes,  Tud"     But  God  a-boue  can  graciousli  dispose 
wbs^intend.  Ageyn  such  maUce  to  make  resistence: 
Men  for  a  while  may  suffre  violence 
And  wronges  grete,  wher-so  that  thei  weende,      3296 
But  trouthe  alway  venquysshith  at  the  eende. 

fhaYhls'dream'^  Astriagcs  fond  ful  sooth  his  drem; 

?™h"oTman*  Thouh  he  agcyn  it  made  purueiance 

is  no  match  for  To  hauc*  dcpryued  Cirus  off  his  rem,  3300 

God's  power.        ^  t  ^  i    •       l   •  J 

He  was  deceyued  m  his  ordynance: 

For  wher  that  God  thoruh  his  myhti  puissance 

List  for  heires  iustli  to  prouide, 

Sleihte  in  such  cas  off  man,  is  leid  a-side.  3304 

covSd^the'iand  Maugte  the  myht[e]  off  Astriages, 

°|  Media,  and^  Cirus  on  hym  made  a  disconfiture; 

in  peace.  And  al  Asic  reioisshcd  eek  in  pes. 

Off  verai  riht,  as  was  his  auenture.  3308 

And  be  iust  title  he  dede  also  recure 
The  lond  off  Mede,  lik  as  was  his  fate. 
And  into  Perse  he  dede  it  hool  translate. 

ve^nTfur°Ind'   Agcyn  his  aiel  he  was  nat  vengable,  3312 

gave  his 'grand-  Which  hadde  wrouht  to  his  destrucciouw, 

father  the  fourth  j  •    i  i 

partofArchania,  But  was  to  hym  benygnc  and  merciable, 
And  grauwtid  hym,  off  hool  affeccioun, 
The  fourte  part  off  the  regioun  3316 

3300.  To  haue]  Ta  B.      3315.   graunted]  growndid  H. 

BK.  ii]         Princes,  do  not  oppose  the  Will  of  God  293 

Off  Archanye,  off  which  afom  I  tolde, 
Hym  to  sustenyn  in  his  daies  olde. 

For  kyng  Cirus  wold[e]  nat  his  lyue  °«  did  he  wish 

Suffre  his  aiel,  off  veray  gentilesse,  3320  pnved  of  idngiy 

nni      ^  i_iji_  c         I'J  honour.  Prince* 

1  hat  men  sholde  hym  tynah  depryue  should  always 

Off  kyngli  honour,  for  non  onkynd[e]nesse,  —  jnnl^^S' 

To  yeue  exauwple  to  pryncis  in  sothnesse,  mercy. 

Thouh  God  ha[ue]  youe  hem  power  in  erthe  & 

myht,  3324 

Thei  sholde  ay  merci  medle  with  the  ryht. 

[^  Lenvoye.] 

NOBLE  Princis,  your  eris  doth  enclyne,  Nobic  Pnnces, 

.|  ....  ,.  .  consider  how 

And  considreth  m  your  discreciouns,  dreams  shewn 

How  dremys  shewed  binfluence  dyuyne  3328  encea^fike  "' 

Be  nat  lik  sweuenys,  but  lik  auysiouns,  whkh^'wiii 

Or  resemblable  to  reuelaciouns,*  trf™'^w'° 

Which  thouh  men  wolde  distourbe  &  make  faile, 

God  wil  nat  suffre  ther  malice  to  preuaile.  3332 

Astriages  drempte  he  sauh  a  vjme,  Astyages*  dream 

Shewed  off  trouthe  and  non  illusiouns,  spite  of  aU  his 

From  his  doubter  wombe,  riht  as  lyne,  disbherit 

Spred  in  Asie  ouer  the  regiouns;  3336  ^^^^ 

But  to  disherite  be  fals  collusiouns 
Yonge  Cirus,  the  kyng  dede  his  trauaile, 
But  God  nat  suffred  his  malice  to  preuaile. 

Pryncis  remembreth,  ye  that  in  honour  shyne,  3340  Ff*"^.''  f=™ef°- 

Vpon  this  stori  in  your  entenciouns,  and  when  God  is 
And  beth  weelwillid,  wher  God  list  forthrif  a  lyne        va?ce  a  Sie\o 

Outher  to  richesse  or  dominaciouns,  I<rnot°oppoTe" 

To  fauour  them  to  ther  promociouns,  —  3344  ^'*  '^'^' 
Be  nat  contrarie  in  your  acquitaile, 
Sithe  God  will  suffre  no  malice  to  preuaile. 

3317.  afom]  tofom  H. 

3327.  considre  H. 

3330.  reuelaciouns]  reuolucioutis  B,  J,  P,  R  3,  reuolucyons  H  [ 

3331.  distourbe]  distroble  H,  distrouble  R  3. 
3335.  IjTie]  any  lyne  H. 

11 A  A.  nromvrinims  H. 

294  '^be  Story  of  Candaules  King  of  Lydia  [bk.  ii 

[How  Candalus  kyng  of  Lide  was  made  Cokewold  / 
and  aftir  slayn.]  ^ 

As  Bochas  sat  TTT'HIL  lohn  Bochas  caste  his  look  a-side, 

writing  in  his         V  V       T      l  •  i  •  i 

study,  Candau-    T  T      in  his  stuQic  as  he  sat  writvng,  xxsi 

les,  king  of  rp      ,  .  ,        ,  a-  T  •  f 

Lydia,  came      1  o  fiis  presence  cam  the  kyng  oit  Lide 
pre^nwTndb^  CalHd  Candalus,  ful  pitousli  pleynyng, 
tXheX'of  With  salte  teris  ful  lowli  besechyng, 
ce°vedan7ma1ic  ^^^^  ^^  wolde,  tasswagen  his  greuaunce,  3352 

a  cuckold  by     His  dedH  sorwe  to  putte  in  remembraunce. 

(jyges,  a  knight  *^ 

of  his  household,  jjjg  compleynt  was  most  ofF  onkynd[e]nesse, 
For  fals  deceit,  ageyn  al  skile  and  riht, 
That  wher  his  trust  was  most  off  gentilesse,  3356 

He  mokkid  was,  for  al  his  gret[e]  myht; 
For  off  his  hous  ther  was  a  certeyn  knyht, 
Giges  callid,  thyng  shamful  to  be  told, 
To  speke  pleyn  Inglissh,  made  hym  a  cokold.       3360 

But  I  should  not  Alas,  I  was  nat  auysid  weel  beforn, 

have  used  such  ^_  ,.  ,  ,, 

a  coarse  word!  Uncunwyngli  to  spekc  such  language; 
sa?d1ie  had  a^^  I  sholdc  ha  Said,  how  that  he  hadde  an  horn, 
t°aT  called^  oTr-  Or  souht  sum  tee[r]me  with  a  fair  visage  3364 

nuto.  Texcuse  my  rudnesse  off  this  gret  outrage, 

As  in  sum  land  Cornodo  men  them  call, 
And  summe  afFerme  how  such  folk  ha[ue]  no  gall. 

It  happened      This  was  the  cas:  whan  Pheb^j  shon  [ful] 

thus:  One  sum-  ,  .  ^ 

merdaythe  shcCne  [p.   I29J       3368 

queen  lay  nri  •       1  • 

naked  on  her      1  he  somet  sesouw  m  his  ascencioun, 
^^'  Whan  soote  brauwchis  wer  clad  in  newe  greene, 

Heete  inportable  hadde  domynaciouw. 
Whan  that  the  queen  for  recreacioun,  3372 

Onprouyded  that  no  man  dede  hit  keepe, 
Vpon  hir  bed  lay  naked  for  to  sleepe. 

and,  as  scholars  And,  as  cletkis  ofF  hir  beute  write, 

say,  there  was      _-,,  ,  -   . 

no  fairer  1  her  was  a-iyue  no  tairere  creature,  3376 

creature  alive; 

Nor  mor  excellyng,  lik  as  thei  endite, 
OfF  semlynesse,  hir  stori  doth  assure: 

3350.   Candaules  P. 

3356.  That]  Til  H.       3359.   be  told]  beholde'H. 

3364.   teerme]  teeme  J,  P,  term  H,  terme  H  5,  tym  R  3. 

3369.   The]  This  H. 

3377.   lik]  of  looke  H. 

1  MS.  J.  leaf  53  verso. 

BK.  ii]  Candaules  and  Gyges  bis  Knight  295 

CalHd  for  beute  cosyn  to  Nature, 

And  worthi  eek,  ylfF  I  shal  nat  feyne,  3380 

To  be  comparid  to  Griselde*  or  Eleyne. 

Kynde  in  hir  forge  list  nothyng  to  erre,  ^f  nat"" 

,17-i  II-  I  I  •  did  not  blunder 

Whan  she  hir  wrouhte,  bi  gret  auysynesse,  when  she 

To  make  off  beute  the  veray  lode-sterre,  3384  «ce"p^t  thar'she 

And  yeue  hir  fauour,  beute  &  semlynesse;  £^1^6?  "'*" 

But  for  Nature  hadde  so  gret  besynesse 

To  fourme  a  woman  that  was  so  fressh  of  hewe, 

She  hadde  forgete  for  to  make  hir  trewe.  3388 

Hir  eyen  wer  verai  celestiall,  she  had 

Hir  her  ontressid,  lik  Phebwj  in  his  speer,  —  golden  hair,  an 

A  thyng  rasemblyng  that  were  inmortall,  unfxampied  ^""^ 

So  angehk  she  was  off  look  and  cheer,  3392  ^tur^n^gieSd 

An  exauwplaire  off  port  &  off  maneer,  —  ^  give  her 

T*!  i»  r  -K  '  constancy. 

Ther  was  no  lak,  sauf  Nature,  thoruh  hir  slouthe, 
Hadde  lefft  behynde  to  yeue  hir  feith  &  trouthe. 

And  on  a  day,  as  she  lay  slepyng  3396  That  day  Can- 
Naked  a-bedde,  most  goodli  on  to  siht,  hertoGyg^s. 

Ful  onwarli  cam  Candalus  the  kyng  SuM  Llt^hat 

Into  the  chaumbre,  wher  Titan  shon  ful  bryht,  [l^auTffuiThan 

And  shewed  hir  beute  onto  his  owne  knyht,  3400  »"otherwomen. 
Off  entent  he  sholde  ber  witnesse 
How  she  excellid  all  othir  in  faimesse. 

And  whan  Giges  gan  in  ordre  see  But  Gyges  feii 

Off  this  queen  the  gret[e]  excellence,  3404  Md°''»^n"afte/' 

He  was  enamoured  vpon  hir  beute  J^dla'^ried'hlr. 

Al  the  while  he  stood  ther  in  presence, 

Gan  ymagyne  a  tresoun  in  silence. 

To  slen  his  lord,  withoute  long  tarieng,  3408 

Wynne  the  queen,  and  afftir  regne  as  kyng. 

This  was  the  eende,  doolful  and  pitous,  That  wa»  the 

To  be  remembrid  hatful  and  terrible,  fe^^  who^wasl" 

Off  this  noble  worthi  Candalus;  3412  ?,t^r^^^' 

For  off  his  trust  to  moche  he  was  credible 
Onto  Giges,  the  traitour  most  odible. 
And  yit  mor  foltissh,  wherbi  he  lost  his  liff. 
Outward  to  shewe  the  beute  off  his  wiff.  3416 

3381.   Gresilde  B,  Grisilde  J,  P,  Griselde  H,  Grysilde  R  3, 

Gresylde  H  5. 
3385.   beutefauottrj  —  beute]  ow.  P.         3391.   Immortall  H. 
3396.   day]  bedde  H.         34CXD.   his]  hir  H. 


The  Story  of  King  Midas 

[bk.  II 

Alas  that  a       Thouh  shc  wcFC  fair  &  goodli  on  to  see, 

queen  or  princess  _,,  ° 

should  do  such    1  hcF  WES  HO  trust  nOF  HO  sekimcsse, 
only' excuse  is   For  Other  hadde  as  good[e]  part  as  he,  — 
makes  them      Gigcs  koudc  here  therofF  witnesse. 
double.  Alas,  a  queen,  or  any  gret  pryncesse 

Assente  sholde  hir  fame  for  to  trouble, 
But  yifF  Nature  excuse  hem  to  be  double. 


[How  what  thing  kyng  Midas  touched  was  golde/ 
yitt  deied  he  in  misery  and  wrecchidnesse.]  ^ 

Gyges  was  soon 
crowned  king 
of  Lydia. 

Midas  next 
appeared,  and, 
weeping,  told 
Bochas  his 

BUT  who-so-euer  was  therwith  loth  or  fayn, 
Giges  was  afPtir  crownyd  kyng  off  LIde, 
Whan  that  his  lord  was  be  tresoun  slayn. 
Off  hym  the  surplus  Bochas  set  a-side. 
And  in  his  studi,  as  he  dede  abide, 
Ther  cam  off  Frige,  Midas  the  riche  kyng. 
Told  myn  auctour  his  compleynt  with  wepyng. 

Never  was  there  Fot  thet  was  neuer,  be  conquest  nor  labour, 
When  he  was     No  kyng  afom  that  hadde  mor  richesse, 

bom,  ants  laid 


of -wheat  Nor  mor  plente  off  gold  nor  off  tresour. 

about  his  cradle.  ^^  whose  berthe  poetis  thus  expresse: 

A-boute  his  cradel  amptis  gan  hem*  dresse, 
Whil  he  slepte,  and  gan  a-boute  hym  leyn 
A  ful  gret  nouwbre  off  purid  whete  greyn. 

and  diviners      Whcrupon,  most  cxpcrt  dyuynouts, 
the  conclusion   As  thei  took  heed  in  ther  attend auwce, 

that  he  would      01  r    i       L       ^  '^ 

excel  all  men  in  buch  as  wer[ejn  best  expositours, 
wealth.  Saide  it  was  a  tokne  off  habundaunce. 

To  haue  off  richesse  al  maner  suffisaunce, 
And  concludyng,  pleynli  gan  to  tell. 
How  he  alle  other  in  tresour  sholde  excell. 

It  was  also  said  Poetis  off  hym  wrot  that  were  ful  olde, 

that  Bacchus 
granted  his 
request,  that 
whatever  he 
touched  would 
turn  to  gold. 







How  Bachus  gaff  hym  —  the  myhti  God  of  wyn,  — 

What  he  toucheth  shal  turnen  into  golde 

As  good  as  that  which  cam  out  off  the  myn,         3448 

At  all  assaies  to  been  as  pur  and  fyn. 

This  request,  as  writ  Ouidius, 

Was  onto  Midas  grau7itid  off  Bachus. 

3435.   hem]  hym  B.  3437.   A]  om.  H. 

1  MS.  J.  leaf  53  verso. 

BK.  Il] 

Midas  and  his  Golden  Touch 


He  thouhte  gold  myhte  hym  most  auaile 
What  he  handlid  was  gold  with  touchyng, 
But  whan  hunger  his  stomak  gan  assaile, 
His  bred,  his  mete  was  cleer  gold  in  shewyng; 
And  whan  he  gan  to  faile  off  his  fedyng, 
And  fond  in  gold  no  recour  to  escape, 
Besouhte  Bachus  sum  remedi  to  shape. 

Bachus  bad  hym  go  bathe  in  a  ryuer 
To  wasshe  a-way  the  colour  aureat, 
Wher  yit  is  shewed  the  goldi  grauel  cleer. 
Which  exaumple  declareth  to  ech  estat. 
That  gold  alone  maketh  men  nat  fortunat: 
For  what  may  gold  or  tresour  ther  auaile, 
Wher  men  in  hunger  fynde  no  vitaile? 

Or  what  is  worth*  gold,  perle  or  stonys  red, 
Grene  emeraudis  or  saphir[e]s  ynde. 

Fd.  \xd\  Xi<i2  But  as  he  could 
If       J    JO'tO     not  eat  gold, 

when  he  became 
hungry  he 
begged  Bacchus 
to  help  him, 


and,  following 
3460  advice 

bathed  in  a 
river.    The 
gravel  still 
shines  golden 


This  only  proves 
that  a  barley 
loaf  is  some- 

Whan  men  enfamyned  ha[ue]  no[u]ther  greyn  nor         more  than 


Nor  in  such  myscheefF  vitaile  may  non  fynde 
For  to  fostre  ther  nature  and  ther  kynde,  — 
A  barli  lofF  in  such  a  distresse 
Mor  myhte  auaile  than  al  worldli  richesse! 

This  knew  Midas,  &  was  expert  in  deede, 

Thouh  he  off  gold  hadde  so  gret  plente, 

That  with  metall  he  myhte  hymselfF  nat  feede. 

Which  caused  hym  off  necessite  3476 

To  considre  and  cleerli  for  to  see. 

That  bred  mor  vailith  for  fostryng  off  nature. 

Than  al  [the]  richesse  that  men  may  heer  recure. 

For  which  this  kyng  gan  haten  al  richesse; 
Gold  and  tresour  he  hadde  eek  in  disdeyn, 
LeflFte  his  crowne  and  his  roial  noblesse. 
And  ches  to  keepe  sheep  vpon  a  pleyn. 
Al  worldli  worshepe  was  to  hym  but  veyn. 
OfF  malencolie  &  froward  pouerte, 
Endid  his  lifF  in  gret  aduersite. 

3454.  gan]  did  H. 

3458.  shape]  make  H. 

3461.  yit]  it  P. 

3466.  worth]  worthi  B,  J,  worthy  H,  H  5. 

3478.  availith  H. 

3479.  the]  om.  J,  P,  H  5  —  hear]  om.  H. 
3484.  was]  isH. 

,_  all  worldly 
3400  riches, 

as  Midas  learned 
by  experience. 

348Q  As  a  result  he 
began  to  hate 
all  wealth,  left 
his  throne  and 
became  a 


298  The  End  of  Midas.     Belshazzar  [bk.  11 

His  end  was      FoF  ofF  irc  and  inpacience, 

very  terrible,  for  _,  n  i  •    i     i  •  i 

in  his  great  need  1*  y Rally  thus  With  hym  It  stood :  3488 

he  drank  the        -rx       •  , .   .      ,  .  ... 

blood  of  a  mad-  T  unousli  iH  his  gtct  indigence, 
became^mad'"'^  As  Writ  Bochas,  How  He  dtank  the  blood 
himseifanddied.Qfp^  bolc,  sauagync  and  wood, 

With  loue  enchaufid,*  made  no  delaies,  3492 

Most  bestlali  eendid  thus  his  daies. 

[Off  Balthasar  kyng  of  Babilone  and  how  Danyel 
expowned,  Mane,  Techel,  Phares.]  ^ 

Belshazzar  mis-  "V  TEXT  to  Bochas,  OF  that  he  was  war, 

used  the  sacred 

As  he  sat  writyng  with  ful  gret  labowr, 
sai^m,' '°       '  OfF  Babilon  cam  grete  Baltazar  3496 

To  declare  his  sorwe  and  his  langowr. 
Which  had  mysusid  ful  falsli  the  tresowr 
And  the  vesseles  brouht  fro  Jerusalem, 
In  Babilon  cheefF  cite  ofF  his  rewm.  3500 

drinking  For  at  z  souDcr  with  his  lordis  all, 

wine  out  of  them  ._^,  rr-i  i-ii  i  l* 

at  a  supper,  sur-  Whan  ott  the  vesselis  he  drank  myhti  wynes, 

concubines^and'  And  solcmpU  sat  in  his  roial  stall, 

magicians.        p^^^  round  a-boute  all  his  concubynes,  3504 

Philisophres,  magiciens  and  dyuynes, 
Ther  cam  an  hand,  the  Bible  doth  assure. 
And  on  the  wall  gan  writen  this  scripture: 

when  suddenly   MattC  techcl  pharcs  wreten  in  his  siht,  3508 

a  hand  wrote 


a  hand  wrote      rr^,         111  1  11 

A/an/,  Techii,    Thouh  he  the  menyng  conceyued  neueradeel, 
i«t?"  onVhf '  Which  on  the  wall  shewed  cleer  &  briht, 

Fro  whos  sentence  auailed  non  appel. 

But  the  prophete,  hooli  Danyel,  3512 

FuUi  expownyd  to  Baltazar  the  kyng 

The  mysterie  ofF  this  derk  writyng. 

3487.  Impacience  H. 

3488.  yiith  hym  thus  H. 

3492.  enchaufid]  eschaufid  B,  eschaufed  J,  R  3. 

3501.  a]  om.  H. 

3503.  solempnely  H,  R  3,  solemnely  P. 

35 10.  cleer]  fayre  P. 

*  MS.  J  leaf  54  recto. 

BK.  ii]  The  Writing  on  the  Wall  299 

"  This  woord  Mane,  pleynli  and  nat  tarie,  SlmdS^'^ed 

In  Latyn  tunge  betokneth  in  substaunce,  3516  to  him  that 
The  daies  countid  &  rekned  the  noumbrarie  Latin, 

Off  thi  regnyng  &  off  thi  gret  substaunce.  n^^b«^'^ 

And  Techel  sowneth  a  weieng  in  ballaunce,  ^^^flmg. 

In  tokne  thi  power  &  kyngdam  be  mesure,  3520  i°^fbli^^ 
God  hath  hem  peised,  thei  shal  no  while  endure. 

Phares  also  betokneth  a  brekyng,  "Pkares 

_      _,  .  •  1  means  a  break- 

In  Komayn  tunge,  into  pecis  smaie;  ingintosmaU 

For  thi  power  &  froward  rebellyng  3524  ^'^'»h°i  ^ 

Shal  from  an  hih  be  brouht  into  the  vale,  iS^lWoTy 

This  Hooli  Writ  &  no  feyned  tale :  Wm  a^dj^o^^ 

For  whan  pryncis  wil  nat  ther  liff  redresse,  warned  long  ago 

y-^     1       Ml  !•     1  1-  by  the  fall  of 

God  will  onwarli  ther  surquedie  represse.  3528  Nebuchadnezzar 

and  you  took  no 

Thou  wer  be  toknys  warned  longe  affor,  \^^  ^  H 

Be  many  exauwple,  the  story  ye  may  reede,  be  brouht  low." 

Bi  the  fallyng  oflF  Nabugodonosor, 

And  thou  theroff  took  ful  litil  heede,  3532 

The  Lord  to  thanke  &  haue  his  name  in  dreede. 

For  which  thou  shalt  withynne  a  litil  throwe 

Lese  sceptre  &  crowne,  &  be  brouht  ful  lowe." 

[Lenvoye.]  ^ 

9  Lat  prjmcis  all  this  story  haue  in  mynde,  [p.  131]  3536  Let  aii  prince. 

And  for  themsilfF[e]  notabli  prouide,  ^^"nd  put"* 

A[nd]  namli  thei  that  be  to  God  onkynde,  Sm  SdX- 

Ther  concubynes  for  to  sette  a-side,  '"'^  ^''^** 

And  make  vertu  for  to  been  ther  guide,  3540 

Voide  lecheri  and  fals  presumpcioun. 

Which  haue*  so  many  brouht  to  destruccioun. 

Nabugodonosor  hadde  repentaunce,  Nebuchadnezzar 

•      J  ....  .  repented,  and 

And  was  restond  to  his  possessiouns;  3544  was  restored  to 

But  God  off  riht  took  sodenli  vengaunce  g^  took%en!?* 

On  Balthasar  for  his  transgressiouns.  S^!"  ^*^ 
Wherfore,  ye  Pr3mcis,  disposith  your  resouns, 

3517.  &